The Librarian is in: Audiobooks and Ebooks

By KATRINA SPENCER

Middleburians, we miss you. And while we are socially distant for the good of the globe, the library’s collections don’t have to be. Here are a few pieces of advice to help get you closer to them. First, have a look at “12 Ways to Get What You Need from the Library.” Second, follow the five steps below to use Overdrive and access hundreds of titles. Last, read what other Middleburians have to say about using the platform by scrolling down below and checking in regularly at go.middlebury.edu/thelibrarianisin.

 

How to use Overdrive:


Name: Jayla Johnson

Year or title: 2021

Major: Political Science with Spanish minor

Titles you’ve listened to on Overdrive:Wild” by Cheryl Strayed 

What first drew you to this platform? Katrina Spencer

Advantages of Audiobooks: Allows for multitasking

Disadvantages of Audiobooks: Requires close attention/ listening skills so you don’t miss any content

To whom would you recommend audiobooks on Overdrive and why? I would recommend audiobooks to everyone, especially students and people who are busy. Audiobooks allow students to get through books faster to meet deadlines and they allow people in general to read more but even if they don’t have the time or the ability to do so.

What else should users know and why? Users should know that audiobooks on the Middlebury campus are easily accessible. Even more, the books can be used on the Overdrive app, which, if you have an iPhone, can be downloaded for free via the Apple App Store. Also, because the books can be downloaded to your phone, you do not have to have WiFi in order to listen. This is useful because it allows users to use audiobooks anywhere they want. Thus, audiobooks give students another means and opportunity to complete assignments. 

In addition, students have the opportunity to request books that they wish to see added to the collection. By following the instructions at go.middlebury.edu/ebookguide or reaching out to the library staff, students can access many works of interest. 


Name: Isabelle Elisha 

Year or title: Visiting Assistant Professor 

Department: Psychology 

Titles you’ve listened to on Overdrive: “Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay” by Phoebe Robinson and “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What first drew you to this platform? After years of friends unsuccessfully trying to sell me on giving audiobooks a chance, Katrina Spencer convinced me to give them a try. 

Advantages of Audiobooks: Hands-free reading! 

Disadvantages of Audiobooks: Again, hands-free reading. Not having to hold a book or device means that you’re free to engage in activities that may distract you from the audio book. 

To whom would you recommend audiobooks on Overdrive and why? Audiobooks are an excellent option for anyone who wants to read while engaging in other activities. However, their best attribute is the potential to contribute to the options of those who cannot or do not read traditional books or ebooks, but want to. After listening to and thoroughly enjoying “Americanah,” I recommended it to a relative who has a disability that makes reading a challenge. 

What else should users know and why? Although the present Overdrive collection is limited, the Middlebury library system offers the option of requesting audiobooks. 


Name: Kat Cyr

Year or title: Class of 2011/Interlibrary Loan Associate

Major: Japanese 

Titles you’ve listened to on Overdrive: The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, “The Protector of the Small Series” by Tamora Pierce, “The Raven Cycle” by Maggie Stiefvater, “The Accident Season” by Moira Fowley-Doyle, “Bad Boy” by Walter Dean Myers, “Fresh off the Boat” by Eddie Huang

What first drew you to this platform? I moonlight as a public librarian, so I had to learn how to use the system so I could troubleshoot with patrons. 

Advantages of Audiobooks: From an accessibility standpoint, it is much easier for some people with dyslexia or vision problems to listen to books rather than read them. There’s also the fact that you can to listen to them while driving, cleaning, bathing, knitting, etc, and you can adjust the reading speed, so, if you get bored, you can turn the speed up until everyone sounds like a chipmunk. 

Disadvantages of Audiobooks: It’s hard to flip back through to your favorite bits, and sometimes you just can’t get by a bad narrator. 

To whom would you recommend audiobooks on Overdrive and why? If you’re in a reading slump, or consider yourself too busy to sit down and read, give audiobooks a try. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right book and/or reader at the right time and you’re hooked. And if you’re daunted by the medium as a whole, maybe start with some less literary more page-turner-style books — I find YA (young adult) to be especially fun through audio. 

What else should users know and why? Not all narrators are created equal. I will listen to anything Robin Miles or Adjoa Andoh reads, but my beloved “Ancillary Justice” has such an atrocious narrator in America that I just can’t. That’s sometimes how it goes — but on the flip side, I never would have picked up the spectacular Tananarive Due if not for Robin Miles’ narration of her “The Good House,” so there’s that. 


Bonus: Katrina’s Top 3 Picks

The following exemplify exquisite vocal performances.

  • “The Book of Night Women” by Marlon James: historical fiction set in the age of plantation slavery in Jamaica. You might not be able to get to this one soon because I have it checked out. But you can place a hold!
  • “Dear Committee Members” by Julie Schumacher: hilarious satire that pokes fun of academic life from a faculty perspective. Features a blistering, cynical voice that makes us question our systems and protocols.
  • “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston: a fiction drama and auditory delight that prizes Black Southern vernacular. Few titles can problematize the patriarchy and provide you with the high impact, suspenseful narrative of a natural disaster. This one does both.