Category Archives: libspotlight

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.

Update on New York Times access

New York TimesYou may be aware that we’ve had an access problem with the New York Times web site over the past few months. The short version of the issue is that SGA was providing online access until NYT discontinued that program…which no one on campus realized until our access ceased (there’s more detail in this Campus article). The Times’ new program is extremely expensive, and the library’s funding for this fiscal year was set last year. Partial access is still available; would that full access were, and we wish an immediate solution were at hand. We haven’t given up, though, and are still working on the problem. Please feel free to contact Douglas Black, Head of Collections Management, for more information.

Links to our remaining options for online access access to the NYT are in the Journals list New York Times. (You can get to this list on your own by clicking on the “Journals” tab on the library home page and searching for “new york times.”) For today’s paper, select “Global Newsstream,” a database that provides NYT articles with full text but without images. Need help? Ask a librarian.

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.

You can now receive library circulation notices via text message

The library now offers patrons the option of receiving circulation notices via text message. If you choose to opt in, you will get overdue, hold pickup, and courtesy notices on your phone, in addition to via email. To opt in, login to My MIDCAT at go/renew, click the “Modify Personal Info” button, enter your mobile phone number, check the “Opt in” box, read the conditions, and click “Submit”. Opt out at any time by following the same procedure and unchecking the “Opt in” button. Contact library_circulation@middlebury.edu with any questions.

New video tutorial from the Library!

Top Tips for Starting Your Research

Our newest video tutorial offers students some helpful tips for those moments when they feel stuck in their research, or are just not sure what to do next. There’s no need to struggle in silence! Middlebury College Librarians are here to help with all research problems.

Refer students easily with the go link go/TopTips/, or see all of our current video tutorials at go/videotutorials/.

Summer Reading Display Results!

Thanks to all who shared their favorite Summer Reading Displaybooks from this summer! We had an interactive display in the atrium last week to learn what the Middlebury community read while they were away for the summer.

The display may be over, but you can still view the list of titles (below) and how to access them on campus! We will also add some titles that weren’t already in our collection.

Thanks for participating! Comment below if your favorite book hasn’t made the list.

List of Titles from Summer Reading Display:

2018 Clifford Symposium Library Display

The 2018 Clifford Symposium starts today! Come to Davis Family Library to see our display of related works, including titles noted in The Origin of Others and other works by Toni Morrison.

Also find a multimedia presentation of original audio of Toni Morrison reading from her (then still unpublished) novel Song of Solomon, while teaching at the Breadloaf School of English in 1977. Thanks to Special Collections for providing this recording and related photographs!

Change to the Circulation Desk hours

Starting Tuesday, September 11th, the Circulation Desk in the Davis Family Library will close a half hour before the building closes. There are no changes to the operating hours of the building. A reminder of the change will be made each night before closing on the PA system. This change is only for Davis; Armstrong will not be affected.