I so often hear from people when they find out I work at the Library, “I used to read, but I just can’t find the time.”  As strange as this may sound coming from the Library Director, I had stopped reading as well.  Not because I didn’t love reading, but after a full day of working on the computer, combined with reading multiple documents and spreadsheets, my eyes could not handle additional reading time.  To complicate matters even more, I too had little time to dedicate to leisurely sit and read.  The answer for me: audio books. They have opened back up the world of literature and reading in a highly effective way.

Who says I can’t work on my house and read a book? Reading by listening to an audio book has allowed me to take multitasking to a new level!  With my phone and portable speaker or a pair of headphones or an auxiliary cord, my books go with me everywhere.  While listening to a book I can drive, clean, sew, or remodel a bathroom, the options are limitless. The process of reading by listening makes me think of like Dr. Seuss—I can listen in a box with a fox, or on a boat with a goat!  I can listen anywhere, Sam I am!

As I have shared my love for my new form of reading by listening many have questioned if they would be able to concentrate on the story just by listening. My comparison is that even when we read the printed words our minds sometime wander and that’s ok.  We have a fantastic ability to understand the important points despite these wandering tendencies when we don’t pick up all the little details but we still understand the total meaning.  When we miss too much the added bonus is our listening device allows us to go back in 15 sec intervals. Just like flipping back in a book and rereading parts, we have the option to go back and listen again.

The Library offers a vast amount of options for books available in a variety of listening formats.  From the traditional cd sets, to Play Aways to downloadable audio books.  Play Aways are a small device that has one complete book loaded.  They are checked out for 28 days and an additional battery is provided. Individuals must provide their own headphones. The Play Aways will also work through auxiliary cords in cars systems and portable speakers as well.

Downloadable audio book selections are available on both the Library’s Overdrive collection, which utilizes the Libby App and Hoopla.  Both of these services are free to library card holders. It is quick and easy to begin using the app.  I love that when I finish one title I can just search and immediately find another title to listen to within a matter of minutes.  I have found many wonderful series by listening due to the app automatically suggesting at the end of one part that the next is available.  The easy linking to similar authors or an author’s complete available works is a wonderful feature for easily connecting with a new title. This past weekend utilizing my new format for reading while working on a project on my house, I listened to four audio books.  I would have never had the time to read that many books in a weekend.

Hoopla

What can you read with audio books?  Anything and everything!  From self help, to professional titles, to romance, to horror, to western, to fantasy, and everything in between, all genres and topics are available.  I personally listen to a wide variety of authors and genres.  Recently noted  favorite listening reads were Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis; Onward: How Startbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz; It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lisa Terkurst; and an older historical fiction series Brides of Lehigh Canal by Wanda Brunstetter.

When I look at my recently “read” list on my apps I am continually amazed at how much reading I have been able to accomplish since I have changed my reading habits to listening habits.  I no longer have to feel guilty that my eyes won’t hold up for me to keep up with my ferocious reading habit.  I’m all ears for reading!

– Melissa Merida, Library Director