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Library for the Blind volunteer to compete in Miss Oklahoma contest in June

Thursday, May 30, 2024

OKLAHOMA CITY - Alyssa Payne, a native of Oklahoma City, always wanted to do voice-over work. She seized the opportunity when she found a flyer at her local bookstore recruiting volunteers for the Oklahoma Telephone Reader program at  Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Oklahoma City.

As an OTR reader, Payne records headline articles from The Oklahoman, which are played on-demand by library patrons through a dial-up phone service. In the recording studio, she narrates and records audiobooks and magazines, such as Oklahoma Today.

“Growing up with a speech impediment, I had assumed that I would not be a good fit due to my disability,” Payne said. “I thought the OTR program would be a good way to test if I wanted to do voice-over, and I absolutely fell in love with it.”

In August, Payne will have volunteered two years at OLBPH, which is operated by the Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired division of Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

The Oklahoma library is part of the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. NLS selected OLBPH as their 2019 Regional Library of the Year in competition with 56 regional libraries in the NLS system.

In her role as Miss Grand Lake 2024, Payne advocates for and promotes the OLBPH. Her friends at the library will be rooting for her when she competes for the 2024 Miss Oklahoma title at River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa in June. She has earned more than $27,000 in scholarships through the pageant.

“We absolutely love working with Alyssa and are so happy she has chosen to spend her free time volunteering with us,” said Kat Jensen, OLBPH recording studio director. "Her Miss Grand Lakes status takes her to events all over the state … and she has used that opportunity and platform often to advocate for the library.”

Payne is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University, where she earned a degree in animation and completed pre-physician courses. She is an alumna of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and helped establish the OCU We Dine Together club.  She is employed as a character performer playing Disney princesses and other roles for Character Connection Company in Oklahoma City.

Her hobbies include hiking, traveling, tap dancing, writing and watching Pixar and Studio Mappa animations.

Payne channels her creative energy and skills into serving her fellow Oklahomans and encourages others to do the same by volunteering at the OLBPH.

“I am so thankful to volunteer at a place dedicated to helping Oklahomans,” Payne said. “I know voice-over and narration can be outside of many people’s comfort zones, but it is truly an incredible experience.”

“They (OLBPH staff) are so passionate about serving Oklahomans and pour their hearts into producing good, quality materials,” she added. “They have given me incredible feedback and have helped me to grow as a narrator and as a person.”

To volunteer or get more information about Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, email, phone 800-523-0288 or visit

.In 2023, OLBPH circulated 1,412 books daily free of charge in audio recorded and Braille formats to 4,962 eligible patrons with visual, physical or reading disabilities. Library staff mail specially formatted audio cartridges and players to patrons who return them by mail without postage charges. Those with internet access can download books and magazines through the library’s Braille and Audio Reading Download service known as BARD.


Alyssa Payne, a volunteer voice-over reader for Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, serves as Miss Grand Lake and will compete in the 2024 Miss Oklahoma pageant in June.

For more information

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director

Cell: 405-203-1318