The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Megan Haddix
Librarians Corner 

Unshelved at GCCL: National Audiobook Month


June is National Audiobook Month and a great time to give it them a try or renew your love for auidobooks. Historically, spoken audio has been available in schools and libraries since the 1930s. Today audiobooks come in many formats, including compact discs and downloadable audio. Recently, I heard Whoopi Goldberg say on a teaser video, “A good audiobook speaks volumes,” and I couldn’t agree more. There are plenty of ways to enjoy listening to books and numerous literacy benefits with high entertainment value.

As a youth, one of my favorite things to do was ride my bike to the public library in Challis, Idaho, and check out books on tape. Set with a pair of headphones; I would stay at the library listening to books until I had to go home. My love of audiobooks furthered when I began making my own by reading and recording them on tapes using my walkman.

Audiobooks celebrate the art of storytelling. They have been proven to help students that struggle with reading and help teachers of second-language learners access literature and enjoy books. For example, audiobooks can be used to model good interpretive reading, provide faster learning, teach critical listening, sidestep unfamiliar dialects or accents (old English and old-fashioned literary styles), and provide a bridge to important topics of discussion for parents and children who can listen together. When listening to an audiobook, students can listen and comprehend two grade levels above their reading level. Combining print and audio increases recall by 40 percent over print alone. Audiobooks are a great way to supplement previous knowledge to solidify information.

Even with all the benefits of audiobooks, however, they are not for everyone. Sometimes the pace may be too fast or too slow. Another issue is that the narrator’s voice can be irritating and distract from the story. But the majority of people will find listening to well-narrated literature to be a transformative experience.

The Glasgow City-County Library (GCCL) has an ever growing variety of audiobooks available for check out. Here are some new audiobooks that have been recently added to the collection: The Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry, read by Joe Barrett; The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard, read by Saskia Maarleveld; Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner, read by Hillary Humber; The Disappeared by C.J. Box, narrated by David Chandler; The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place - A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley, read by Jayne Entwistle; and A Column of Fire by Ken Follet, read by John Lee.

One of my personal favorite audiobooks is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It is a historical novel set in 1946, and was written in an epistolary style, composed of letters sent between one character to another. Each character is read by a different person in the audio format.

For children and families, I recommend Holes by Louis Sachar read by Kerry Beyer. Holes is a YA mystery/comedy about an unlucky teenage boy named Stanley Yelnats, who is falsely accused of theft. Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake which is located in the Texas desert. The book won the 1998 U.S. National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the 1999 Newbery Medal for the year’s “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” I love Holes because it deals with some complex issues and reminds us that friendship can be found anywhere.

Audiobooks used to be somewhat inaccessible due to how expensive they can be to purchase, most ranging from $30-$50. The good news is that GCCL adult patrons may borrow up to five audiobooks at a time, and children can check out two audiobooks at a time. In addition, GCCL offers access to the Montana Library2GO, the online consortium service that supports circulating downloadable digital e-books and audiobooks to patrons at participating libraries. A library card is needed to access MT2GO. Patrons can download audiobooks to their computer or mobile device.

If you’ve never tried an audiobook, why not give it a go? You never know, it may turn out to be a pleasant surprise.


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