Monday, November 17, 2008

Thing 21: LibriVox

My library network offers Overdrive to our patrons. Due to bandwith constraints, the Overdrive Media Player was disabled for in-library use. Our network administrator was concerned with the low circulation of titles and those of us on the "front lines" were quite vocal that we couldn't train our staff on the product or market the product if we couldn't use the product in house. Additionally, Overdrive could not offer iPod compatible titles and we felt this was impacting use. On the other hand, when I received my annual statistics (compiled by the network), I was stunned at the usage. We are now allowed to utilize the media player application in our libraries and my staff has been trained in troubleshooting. The network has just made a selection of additional titles compatible with iPods and we will be bringing that up soon. In the meantime, I have a BPL ecard and can download audio books to my own iPod. The titles aren't that great yet but I'm sure the selection will expand rapidly. I'm currently learning Japanese during my commute.

My library is also offering Playaways for both kids and adults. Circulation has been fairly healthy and we are working on producing a YouTube video (this class gave me the idea) to show patrons what they are and how they work. For this activity, I decided to visit LibriVox as I had never heard of the site. I loved the tag, "Acoustical Liberation of Books". LibriVox also allows users to record books as their goal is to record all of the books in the public domain. Since audio performance is such a huge component of an audio book, I'm not sure this is such a good idea. They also have their own wiki providing guidance for listeners and volunteers.

I refuse to acknowledge even the possibility of the death of the printed page. We MUST, however, acknowledge that we have users that will never set foot inside our doors and we need to be rethinking how we are going to serve them, market to them and count on them for support.

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