Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Chris Hillman of The Byrds, entrepreneur and Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea, Dalai Lama author Pico Iyer, director Rod Lathim, botanist Jan Timbrook and columnist Starshine Roshell are some of the 300 local participants expected at the 15th annual Record-a-Thon, part of a weeklong, nationwide event to introduce the community to Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

Nearly two dozen groups are participating in RFB&D’s 2010 Record-a-Thon, which started Monday.

The volunteers will record textbooks that are used by RFB&D members with reading disabilities. Volunteers include employees of Raytheon, Vetronix and Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort; UCSB students from film and media, math and environmental sciences; radio personalities from KTMS, KTYD and K-LITE; and organizations including the Junior League, Lions Club, Daughters of Penelope, the Breast Cancer Resource Center, the Atheist Service Group, Brownie Troop 50611, speech therapists, Newcomers and the Rotary Club.

There are still openings this week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, for individuals who would like to record a book for the national RFB&D library in Princeton, N.J., the world’s largest library of recorded books.

Event sponsors include Venoco, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Raytheon, Vetronix, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Anderson Financial Services, Kristen Reed and friends, and the Rudi Schulte Family Foundation, as well as many of the 200 volunteers who come in each week to record textbooks and who have been raising money for RFB&D.

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic helps students who have learning differences such as dyslexia, visual handicaps including blindness, or who have difficulty using books because of a physical disability such as paralysis.

RFB&D’s Santa Barbara studio serves 1,600 students throughout Central California who now learn through listening using RFB&D’s recorded textbooks. However, there are an estimated 11,000 students in Central California who could benefit from RFB&D’s life-changing services. All services are free, and 51 local schools and school districts also have RFB&D’s recorded books available to students.

For more information about the Record-A-Thon or to sign up to read, call 805.681.0531 or e-mail

— Tim Schwartz is the area director of Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.