Audiobooks on Overdrive and You

What are audiobooks?

a librarian at desk
Literatures & Cultures Librarian Katrina Spencer poses at the Research Desk, modeling audiobook use with sex columnist Dan Savage’s American Savage.

Audiobooks on OverDrive are digital versions of a book, often a novel, that allow you to listen to a book’s text. Many come in downloadable MP3 format files and are therefore portable on many electronic devices like iPods. Sometimes the authors read their works to you with modest sound effects or other dramatizations of the story or action! Audiobooks can also be found on CDs in the Middlebury College Libraries’ collection. See a thorough listing here.

Why might I want use them?

If it’s hard to find still moments to sit down and open a print work or scroll through an ebook, audiobooks offer a hands-free alternative to the other formats. So, you can carry out household chores, drive, or even exercise while listening to an audiobook.

Where can I see what’s available?

A screenshot representing a small sample of the ~200 audiobooks available at

In terms of what the Middlebury College Libraries holds on OverDrive, just visit for access to over 200 audiobooks. If you’re a Vermont resident and a holder of a public library card, you can access 5,000+ titles through the Green Mountain Library Consortium. See for more information and use your last name in all caps, ex. ALI, as your password.

Do you have any recommendations?

Book cover art for Eddie Huang’s memoir, Fresh Off the Boat

Yes, sure! But that depends on what you like. One of my favorite parts of my job is readers’ advisory. Look at the bolded type for genre:

  • If you want a psychological thriller in the realm of domestic noir, I recommend The Silent Wife.
  • If dystopian fantasy is what you’re into, Director of Access and Discovery Terry Simpkins and Library Associate Kat Cyr swear by N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Series.
  • If you want to access a classic and haven’t gotten around to it, Things Fall Apart is available.
  • Social justice? Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is sure to please and enlighten. And Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed also deeply engages systemic injustice.
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer lit? I really enjoyed Less. Dr. Marcos Rohena-Madrazo of the Department of Luso-Hispanic Studies is a big fan of Redefining Realness.
  • Humor? Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay.
  • Disability studies? Good Kings Bad Kings is on the docket.
  • Then there’s also historical non-fiction like The War Before the War.
  • Historical fiction? Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-prize winning The Underground Railroad is recommendable.
  • And we have memoirs like Michelle Obama’s Becoming— though you may have to wait awhile to get to this one. See my review of it in The Campus, in the meanwhile.
  • Oh, and if you’re studying a foreign language like Spanish, you’ve got about 10 works to choose from on OverDrive and several on CDs in many languages found in the foreign language browsing collection on the main level of the Davis Family Library.

There’s a lot out there!

How can I use them and what should I know about the app?

There are three basic steps for accessing audiobooks:

a flyer advertisement
A flyer with detailed instructions on how to use OverDrive’s audiobooks, a condensed version reproduced at left
  1. Download the OverDrive app, create an original account and after signing in, add the Davis Family Library.
  2. When prompted to sign in with a library card, accept, but use your Middlebury credentials instead.
  3. Make a selection, borrow and manage your ebookshelf.

Also, when in doubt, you are welcome to ask a librarian for help or visit the guide found at With regard to the OverDrive app, there are some cool options like setting a timer for when you want the recording to stop playing, for example, if you’re getting in bed to sleep, and adjusting the speed of the player if you want to move through some text more quickly or more slowly than others. There’s some bookmarking, too.

Book cover art
Book covert art for Harriet McBryde Johnson’s Accidents of Nature

For how long can I borrow audiobooks?

There are two loan periods: 7 days and 14 days. Know that only one user will use each audiobook at a time. So, if desirable, you can place a hold on a work if you want to be in line for when a popular item is released. Check out up to three audiobooks at a time!

Last words?

They’ve changed my life, for the better. I hope they are of use to you, too. Also, to hear more from Middlebury audiobook users, see this week’s issue of The Campus.

Weekly Web Updates – February 18, 2019


Fixes and Tweaks

  • WordPress: added documentation of issues and workarounds for Gutenberg editor.
  • WordPress: Fixed fatal errors in TwentySixteen theme that prevented some sites from loading.

Ongoing Work

  • Creating a new “Offices” site for institution-wide anchor functions.
  • Creating new Drupal 8 sites for our schools and programs.
  • Upgrading the Course Hub to Drupal 8.
  • Improvements to the Service Catalog.

Weekly Web Updates – February 12, 2019

We have set up a new training website for Drupal 8 to help people who support that platform get acquainted with its new features.


Fixes and Tweaks

  • When deleting a WordPress Resource in the Course Hub, instructors are now given a link to WordPress to also delete the site.
  • Fixed an issue with WordPress were error messages for some administrative actions weren’t displayed and users only saw a generic “503 Internal Error” message.
  • MiddSTART and MiddGOAL projects with non-percentage participation goals will now provide links to the donors page.
  • Resolved issue in the Offices and Services website where group slugs were being duplicated in sub-page URL paths.
  • Updated Drupal 8 sites to use the Advanced Link widget in the WYSIWYG editor.
  • Fixed an issue in the Searchable catalog where some Course Sections displayed titles that duplicated their Course title. Section-specific titles are now ignored if they are the same as the title of the parent Course.

Ongoing Work

  • Creating a new “Offices” site for institution-wide anchor functions.
  • Creating new Drupal 8 sites for our schools and programs.
  • Upgrading the Course Hub to Drupal 8.
  • Improvements to the Service Catalog.

Welcome to the Libraries, Febs!

Welcome Febs!

Come to the Research Desk to claim your free unicorn!*

(*Ahem. No actual unicorns are available at this time.)

But please do come and say hello to a friendly librarian! We provide expert research help, bookmarks, collectible library pins and (sometimes) candy! Find us at the Research Desk on the main level of the Davis Family Library.

Spring Research Desk Hours
(February 11 – May 21)

  • Sunday 1pm-5pm
  • Monday 11am-5pm and 7pm-9:30pm
  • Tuesday 11am-5pm and 7pm-9:30pm
  • Wednesday 11am-5pm and 7pm-9:30pm
  • Thursday 11am-5pm
  • Friday 11am-4pm

And online anytime!

No one’s at the Research Desk?
Visit us in our offices! Librarians are conveniently located right behind the Research Desk.

What about the Armstrong Library?
A librarian is available most days at the Armstrong Library in McCardell Bicentennial Hall, too. Just ask!

WordPress Upgraded to Version 5.0.3

We have completed the upgrade of WordPress, which is used for and to version 5.0.3. WordPress 5 is a complete redevelopment of the editor, named “Gutenberg”, which now features a new “block” system for working with media assets and complex markup.

Here is a Lynda course on WordPress 5 to help you get started with this new editor. Skip ahead to section 2, Content Management, as the introductory sections don’t apply to our environment. There is more information about the new features of WordPress 5 in the official announcement blog post. This version also includes a new theme, Twenty Nineteen, which is available for you to use.

Workaround: Get the Classic Editor Back

The new Block Editor has a block for the Classic Editor. Here’s how to add it to your post.

Weekly Web Updates – February 4, 2019

Course Hub/GoogleApps: Google recently changed its application authorization for web-applications connected to Drive, causing errors for instructors who try to create Google Drive resources from the Course Hub. We’ve submitted a reauthorization request however we are waiting on Google to approve it with no timeline for completion.

At this point, if users choose to authorize the unverified application then the Course Hub will be able to successfully create their class folders and assign the class-groups the correct permissions. However, bypassing security warnings is not a good practice and should not generally be recommended.

An alternative work-around for users who need to create Google Drive folders for their spring-semester classes:

  1. Go to Google Drive at go/gdocs
  2. Create a folder for the class.
  3. Go to sharing settings for the folder and search for the class-groups and grant edit or view permission to the class group[s] as appropriate.
  4. Copy the URL to the folder.
  5. Go to the Course Hub and create a Link Resource pointing at the Google Drive folder so that students can easily find it.

Infrastructure: This week we completed the process of migrating all of our web applications to new server nodes running PHP 7.1 and no longer are running PHP 5.6, which reached its end-of-life in December. This was a long process of verifying compatibility, patching incompatible code where found, and rebuilding webserver nodes. The latter process of rebuilding webserver nodes was greatly aided by the use of the Chef configuration management system, greatly reducing the effort needed to build a new server with slightly different configuration.


  • The Omeka exhibition service was migrated to a new host node running PHP 7.1.
  • The Concerto media archive service was migrated to a new host node running PHP 7.1.
  • Drupal field_collection 7.x-1.0-beta13
  • Drupal recaptcha 7.x-2.3
  • Drupal telephone_formatter 8.x-1.0
  • WordPress akismet plugin 4.1.1
  • WordPress embed-webmap plugin 2.0.4
  • WordPress enable-media-replace plugin 3.2.8
  • WordPress ml-slider plugin 3.11.1
  • WordPress subscribe2 plugin 10.26
  • WordPress wp-accessibility plugin 1.6.5

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Course Hub: Updated Google Drive authentication URL to temporarily use old redirected URL to bypass 403 error.

Ongoing Work

  • Creating a new “Offices” site for institution-wide anchor functions.
  • Creating new Drupal 8 sites for our schools and programs.
  • Upgrading the Course Hub to Drupal 8.
  • Improvements to the Service Catalog.

Issue RESOLVED – 503 errors when attempting to open links to websites sent via email

We are pleased to report that the Safe Links service issue is now resolved and we have re-enabled Safe Links. To recap, Safe Links provides extra protections for the Middlebury community from phishing attacks and other malicious email activity by providing time-of-click verification of web addresses (URLs) sent via email.

Thank you for your patience while we worked to resolve matters. Again, we apologize for the disruption.  Please contact the Help Desk if you have any outstanding issues or questions.


ITS Help Desk

Issue UPDATE – errors when attempting to open links to websites sent via email

Microsoft is making significant progress towards resolving the issue with the Safe Links service. In most all cases now, clicking on a link sent to you via email works on the first try. If it doesn’t work, you can typically try again, and the linked website will open.

We are sorry for this disruption in service and any inconvenience. Thank you once again for your patience. We will provide an update as soon as we have more information.