Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How I Finally Came to Appreciate Digital E-Books and Audiobooks

by Lynn Carpenter, Children's Librarian, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Nathan Pyle/BuzzFeed

My favorite thing to do is read. Now this may not seem unusual for a librarian, but I read in many different ways. I love to cuddle up at night right before going to bed and read for a while. Sometimes it is for 15 minutes, sometimes for five to six hours. I will look at the time and suddenly realize I have to get up in an hour to get ready for work. I find that I am not tired—I am awake an hour later and refreshed as if I’ve had a full night’s sleep.

My favorite way to read is with a good old-fashioned book in my hands. I love the feel, the weight, the smell of a good book, even if it is a little musty from age.

Lately, I have been reading the epic Outlander series by Diane Gabaldon. These eight books range in size from 650 to 900 pages. I began reading these books in 1992 when the first book was released. I was delighted when it became a series and continued reading them as they were published. When I heard they were being made into a series, I was ecstatic. I had missed the last three books, so I started with them, but while watching the series, I realized I had forgotten a few things. I started the series from the beginning, but the third library book copy had been read so many times, it was falling apart in my hands.

My husband had given me a Kindle when they first came out in 2007. Being a librarian, I felt like a traitor using this new technology. I downloaded a free book of children’s stories (I am a children’s librarian), and read the stories between other books. When the third Outlander book started falling apart in my hands, I found the Kindle to be the answer to my problem. It was light to carry around and in one piece. I read the rest of the series on the Kindle. When USA released the second book on TV, I began the series again because there was so much information in each book I had to refresh my memory. I am about to finish the fifth book, Drums of Autumn. These eight books are the only books I’ve read since 2014 (in the traditional format).

As a member of the American Library Association, I have served on seven audiobook committees. This past year as chair of the 2017 Odyssey Committee*, we received 445 audio books to evaluate. The first audiobook I had ever listened to was John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, as I was going to Destin. It made the drive seem shorter and as I was going through some small towns, the KKK was coming down one street, the NAACP was coming down another street, and the National Guard down a third street—I had to stop and remember: this is a book.

As a member of the committee, I was assigned around 52,000 minutes of listening. That came out to 104 eight hour days. With the audiobooks I could listen while driving in the car, cleaning house, Christmas shopping, during lunch, or crocheting. I listened to 147 books.

At the conference, we picked our winner, Anna and the Swallow Man, the announcements were made, and I got in my car to drive home. I picked up an audiobook I had received at the conference, Put the CD in the player, and listened to a new adventure on my way home to Birmingham.

*The Odyssey Award audiobook is honored as the Best Audiobook production of a book for children or teens produced in the previous year.

No comments:

Popular Posts