Author Archives: Katrina Spencer

About Katrina Spencer

I'm the Literatues & Cultures Librarian at Middlebury College. I am the liaison the Anderson Freeman (multicultural student) Center, the Arabic department, the French department, the Gender Sexuality & Feminist Studies (GSFS Program), the Language Schools, Linguistics and the Spanish & Portuguese departments

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 go.middlebury.edu/overdrive.

In terms of what the Middlebury College Libraries holds on OverDrive, just visit go.middlebury.edu/overdrive 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 go.middlebury.edu/gmlc 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 go.middlebury.edu/ebookguide. 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.

Write-In 2018

a flyer

Come Visit the 4th Annual Middlebury Write-In, Wednesday, December 5th, from 8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. in Davis Family Library 201 or the Anderson Freeman Center.

On Wednesday, December 5th, from 8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., supported by the Center for Teaching, Learning and Research (CTLR), the 4th Annual Middlebury Write-In will be held. Students can receive writing assistance from tutors and research help from librarians in Davis Family Library 201 or in the Anderson Freeman Center. Snacks will be served. For more information, visit go.middlebury.edu/writein.

On A Real Tip: Slang In Trying Times

Like myself, many of the MiddKids with whom I frequently interact are people of color. While I am a Californian from Los Angeles, many of the students I serve are New Yorkers and they employ a vivid use of language I have yet to encounter outside of the North. In a loosely anthropological study, I have prepared  the briefest of satirical dictionaries to highlight some of my favorite uses of the students’ slang. Let me know if I get them right– or, more likely, wrong. And also, like, #fuhrealsies, use the tips. Here are five examples of contemporary slang in trying times, used in *completely* fictional scenarios ;). Some hyperbole is used for dramatic effect: Continue reading

fat ‘n’ hairy: ways i’m failing the patriarchy

a banner announcing the fat 'n' hairy display

From April 16th- April 23rd, Chellis House-Women’s Resource Center will be hosting an interactive display in the Davis Family Library atrium called “fat ‘n’ hairy: ways i’m failing the patriarchy.” The display includes a variety of library materials and first-hand accounts from community members listing the ways they are failing the patriarchy. For more, read below.

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Celebrating Multiracial Heritage

a multicolor banner

In honor of Multiracial Heritage Month, student group Mixed Kids of Middlebury (MKM) has organized a multimedia display of works created by and featuring multiracial individuals, interracial couples and interracial families. Come to the Davis Family Library atrium from Monday, April 2nd through Monday, April 9th to see it. Three students of multiracial heritage respond to questions about representation and identity below.

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Hair Me Out: A Black Hair Celebration

The collaborative, locally sourced, internationally themed, contemporary and historical exhibit “Hair Me Out” is now installed on the Upper Level of the Davis Family Library and includes multimedia components in the atrium. It explores the political, diasporic and stylistic phenomena surrounding Black hair from all around the world. This exhibit will be installed from February 21st through March 20th. Stop by to see it and visit go.middlebury.edu/hairmeout to see its digital representation. Continue reading

Blind Date With A Book 2018

two student pose on either side of a book cart

Senior Feb Austin Kahn (2017.5) and senior Prasanna Vankina (2018) pose at the Blind Date With A Book Display in the Davis Family Library atrium.

Name: Katrina Spencer

Hometown: Los Angeles

Role at Middlebury: Literatures & Cultures Librarian

Time at Middlebury: 1 year, 10 days

Katrina, are you prepping a display… again?

Yes, I have a problem.

What’s it about?

My problem or the display?

Both.

I have an obsessive streak that is manifesting itself in this way. The display is a small celebration of Valentine’s Day. It’s called “Blind Date With A Book.” My former supervisor, Jessica Newman, at Steenbock Library at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, hipped me to it. Continue reading

a banner depicting several pieces of book cover art at left

Celebrating Black History Month 2018

The Davis Family Library is celebrating Black History Month in February 2018 with a display of books, audio CDs, DVDs, podcast recommendations, multimedia-based interviews and programming. Come to the atrium to see what we have in store and get a sneak peek at go/bhmdigital/. Read below to find out about the variety of ways to engage.

Katrina (Literatures & Cultures Librarian), what are the libraries doing to celebrate Black History Month?

Let me highlight three projects in detail:

a collage of 55 artistic book covers from the Black History Month Display

User Experience & Digital Scholarship Librarian Leanne Galletly has prepared a digital space that allows users to preview the books appearing in the Davis Family Library’s Black History Month display. This collage includes The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry, and The Mother of Black Hollywood by Jenifer Lewis, among many others. Click on the image above to access podcast recommendations, too!

The Black History Month Display in the Davis Family Library atrium, February 1st- 28th, will include books, CDs, DVDs and podcast recommendations created by and about black writers, entertainers and artists. The scope is broad with works from the late sociologist W.E.B. DuBois (1868- 1963) and living, contemporary screenwriter Issa Rae (1985- ); jazz pioneer Miles Davis (1926- 1991) and Grammy award winning rapper Kendrick Lamar (1987- ); the cinematic classic The Color Purple (set in the 1930s and made in 1985) and  filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s Selma (set in 1965 and made in 2014). We’ve also got Senegalese author Mariama Bâ’s French-language classic Une si longue lettre; Cuban singer Celia Cruz’s Azúcar Negra in Spanish; and Pelé: Birth of A Legend, a documentary on the Brazilian futbolista extraordinaire. Blackness, after all, is not contained to any one, geographic region. You can get a sneak peek at the books by visiting go.middlebury.edu/bhmdigital. Continue reading