Friday, February 29, 2008

Vermont Listens Up

Click on the headline above, and you can take a trip to the web site of Listen Up!Vermont, your new opportunity to download audio books online.

At last! More than a few patrons have asked us about this possibility, and now, thanks to the development of a consortium of libraries using the power of collective buying, audio books will be available for download for a borrowing period of one week.

What you're actually checking out is a license to listen to the audio book. You can renew the license at the end of the checkout period if the book
hasn't been reserved by someone else. Some of the books have little red flames (left) on their descriptors, meaning that you can burn them to a CD for long term use. You can also keep them on an MP3 player for extended use, although, alas, not on IPODs, with which they are not compatible. Download it to your hard drive, and it expires after a week. NPL is going to make three listening devices available for checkout as well.

Listen Up!Vermont has a starting collection of 250 audio books, most of which have a license to be checked out by one borrower at a time. There are 50 books available to multiple borrowers (this link will take you to that list) and therefore available at any time. By the end of the year, the site will offer a collection of 500 audio books.

To use the site, follow one of the links above. You'll need to select Norwich among the libraries, then key in the bar code number on your library card. Note: I just attempted to do this and found that as of this writing that someone is fine tuning the site. Target date for it to go live is March 1. If you go to the site and the login URL lands you at Middlebury College, you can conclude that someone is still at work. Try again periodically.

I'm impressed with the list of books currently on line. The 50 always-available books have lots of classics--Jane Austen, Tolstoy, Dickens, Conrad, Carroll, and Alcott among them. Children can experience the adventures of the Three Musketeers and Alice in Wonderland, the joys and sorrows of Little Women.

We're really excited about this opportunity. Lucinda, who has been one of the driving forces on the consortium board, has been hopping around like a merry maniac this week, eager to see her project through.

I'm already making a list of books I want to check out. Number one for me is an offbeat travel book. How's this for a title?! Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World.

This I gotta hear!


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