What are audiobooks?
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?
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?
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:
- Download the OverDrive app, create an original account and after signing in, add the Davis Family Library.
- When prompted to sign in with a library card, accept, but use your Middlebury credentials instead.
- 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.
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!
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.