Massive music sale to benefit reading service for the blind

For bargain hunters and music lovers, the Kansas Audio-Reader Network sale that begins Friday means thousands of donated recordings to discover.

But to Jim and Lynda Canaday, Lawrence, the three-day sale means much more.

Canaday and his wife, Lynda, who are both blind, have used Audio-Reader Services since 1984, when they moved to Lawrence from San Francisco. Jim said he relied on Audio-Reader’s telephone reader, which broadcasts TV Guide and several newspapers at the punch of a telephone button.

“It’s very handy,” Jim said. It “dramatically improves my access to information and news.”

But lack of funds to buy digital technology could thwart Canaday’s access to Audio-Reader services. Networks are converting from analog to digital satellite system format, and the Kansas Audio-Reader Network must modernize to continue broadcasting, said Diana Frederick, development director.

To switch formats, Audio-Reader must raise more than $40,000, Frederick said. The agency garners most of its revenue from donations, and if it doesn’t collect enough, it won’t be able to manage the format change.

To help raise the needed money, Pete North, chairman of Audio-Reader’s development committee, planned Audio-Readers’ first-ever sale of donated items. Molly Malloy, chairwoman for the event, said Audio-Reader employees and volunteers had been working on the project since March.

Janis Hutchison sorts through some of the 6,000 record albums and 10,000 compact discs that will be on sale this weekend for the benefit of Kansas Audio-Reader Network. As Hutchison perused the donated items Monday, she found early Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller vinyl LPs.

Audio-Reader volunteers, Kansas Public Radio staffers, KU faculty, staff and students have donated items for the sale. Delta Gamma sorority also collected items for the benefit. Audio-Reader has collected 6,000 record albums and 10,000 compact discs for the sale. There is music ranging from classical, jazz, bluegrass, Celtic to popular music styles. Some of the recordings are new, and some are used.

Frederick said she hoped the sale would become an annual event, but she was not sure how it would go.

“We have no idea,” Frederick said. “It’s both exciting and scary doing an event like this for the first time.”

Since Oct. 11, 1971, the Kansas Audio-Reader Network has provided free broadcasts of readings of books, magazines and newspapers to blind, visually impaired and other disabled individuals in Kansas and in western Missouri. The Audio-Reader Network at KU is the second radio reading service ever to be established. It is also the first of its kind to be affiliated with a university in the United States. Audio-Reader can be reached at 864-4600.

Audio-Reader will have its first-ever sale of records, compact discs, books on tape, turntables, radios, VCRs and videotapes from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday in Building 2 at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds,For a $5 admission fee, the public can search through 6,000 record albums and 10,000 compact discs.The sale will continue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission on Saturday and Sunday is free.