No eyes needed for book lovers at the Nelson Public Library, which has plenty of audio options. Photo: Pexels

CHECK THIS OUT: Listen up at Nelson Public Library

Avi Silberstein writes about audiobook options at the library

by Avi Silberstein

There are certain chores I don’t particularly enjoy doing. Washing dishes and cleaning the washroom are two that easily come to mind. We all have those things we do reluctantly, muttering under our breaths or sighing heavily just in case there are others around who need to be reminded of how unpleasant the task is for us.

If that sounds familiar – then have I got good news for you! There’s something you can do to take a bit of the bad away from those tasks you deplore. It’s easy and takes hardly any time. Best of all, it won’t cost you a penny.

I’m speaking, of course, about audiobooks.

Ah, the joy of an audiobook. All the goodness of reading, with the added benefit of potential multitasking. As an added bonus, you don’t have to keep track of due dates – the audiobook will return itself once its borrowing period expires (or, as I like to say, it will self-destruct). If you’re already a fan of podcasts, you’ll find audiobooks to be just as easy to use.

If you’ve never borrowed a digital audiobook (also known as eAudiobooks) from the library, it’s as easy as downloading the Libby app on your smartphone or tablet, entering your library card barcode number, and searching the catalogue for an enticing title.

And you won’t be travelling alone if you decide to go down that road – digital audiobooks are the fastest growing segment in publishing. They’ve even eclipsed ebooks for the first time ever.

(Although I should point out that even though they are the fastest growing segment, they are far from being more popular than print books. In Canada, in 2019, only 5 per cent of book purchases were audiobooks, compared to 24 per cent hardcovers, 49 per cent paperbacks, and 17 per cent ebooks.)

Here at the Nelson Public Library, we’ve seen audiobook downloads increase by more than 20 per cent over the past year. This growth has been driven not just by our adult patrons, but also by children. If you haven’t yet introduced your children to audiobooks, you just might want to give it a try. They can be a big hit during long car rides, or if they need some winding down before bedtime.

Our visually-impaired library patrons have been using our NNELS “Talking Books” for years – an audiobook lending program of sorts – and many have now found that our regular digital audiobook collection has significantly expanded their selection.

Whatever your stage of life, digital audiobooks might be that one thing you didn’t know you were missing until you gave it a try. It might be just what you need on your daily commute, while you’re going for a jog, or walking the dog.

Or if, like me, you want to be in two places at once: elbow deep in soap suds, standing at the kitchen sink, while simultaneously sinking into that new novel you’ve been waiting for. Your body in one place, your mind in another.

Avi Silberstein is the Children’s Librarian at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information on all things Nelson Library go to https://nelson.bc.libraries.coop/.

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