A guest blog post by Beverly Gill, Collections Services Librarian
June is audiobook month, which means we can celebrate this delightful form of books. How did they get here? And, most importantly, how can you get them through the BPL?
Audiobooks have been around for a lot longer than you might realize, over 80 years. Audio recordings of books were first created as a way to give access to print materials to people who were blind and visually impaired. The American Foundation for the Blind and the Library of Congress were early innovators for audiobooks with the Talking Book program, which has provided audiobooks to millions of people (and it still exists today!). The first Talking Book audiobooks were made in 1932 on records, and each side contained about 15 minutes of recording. Audio did not become a popular format in the publishing industry until around the 1980s when cassettes were popular. Audiobooks changed as technology did, to cassettes, CDs, and now digital. According to a Pew research study from last year, about 1 in 5 Americans listen to audiobooks today.
At the BPL
Long before audiobooks, the BPL acquired some unique items for accessibility, one of the first library collections of that kind. In 1868, eight “embossed books for the blind” (raised text, similar to braille) were donated to the library. According to the 1869 annual report, the collection had grown to ten books the following year.
Today, we have a vast collection of audiobooks that you can use to listen to your favorite titles. During COVID-19, our eAudiobook collection will be especially helpful because you can use them right from home.Overdrive is the main resource at the BPL for eAudiobooks. You can find our eAudiobook and eBook resources on our Stream & Download page. To find it, click “Books & More” at the top of the page and then “Stream & Download.”
With Overdrive, you get 10 checkouts at a time, and items can have waitlists because there are limited copies. To access them, log in with your library card or eCard number and 4-digit PIN. Overdrive has both eAudiobooks and eBooks.
RBDigital is our other resource with eAudiobooks, and you get 6 checkouts at a time. Many items do not have waitlists, however, some newer titles can have waitlists. Find a video tutorial on using RBDigital here.
Need some inspiration for your next eAudiobook? Check out these lists: