I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Expert Help for Audiobook Patrons is FINALLY a Reality

In the works for months, NoveList has now gone live with the first librarian centered audiobook listener’s advisory service ever! Click here for an overview of what they offer.  Some of the basic info, including a training video are available to all, not just subscribers.

When I taught RA to grad students, I had to spend a lot of time showing them how to cobble together different resources (Audiofile Magazine and Audible being my top two choices) in order to be able to help audiobook fans decipher the appeal of what they like to listen to and why.  We all listened to an audiobook on our own, tried to describe the narration using the language of appeal and then listened to clips from award winning audiobooks with different types of narrations (single narrator, author reading own work, full cast recordings, etc...) as a group.

I tried very hard to at least get them primed to help listeners, but I never felt satisfied that I gave them enough skills to immediately assist patrons.  There is just too much that is different when you help a listener than when you help a reader.

Take just myself for example.  When I listen, I prefer longer, more methodically paced books, with a first person narration. While when I read, these 2 key appeal factors for me in audiobooks don’t really factor into my decisions at all.  Why does it matter for me in audio then? Well, I prefer first person in audio because I love how I experience the audiobook as if the narrator, that specific character, is telling me the story.  In terms of the methodical pacing, I have two reasons.  First, I can listen to a slower paced with more patience.  I give a methodical book more time to grab me because I am doing something else while I listen (usually that something else is some kind of housework).  Second, I usually listen for long stretches at a time and find that more leisurely paced books are more satisfying to me when I experience them in larger chunks.  While I often only have small bursts of time to read a print book, I often spend 2-3 hours in a row listening. So, slower pace means I make the choice to go with the audio version. I will not enjoy it as much in those shorter reading spurts as I will in the longer listening binges.

Now this is just my personal listener profile.  I have spent years fine tuning it so that I can pick the right books for me.  Without a professional tool to help me to help my patrons, it has been hard to provide listener’s advisory to someone I only get to talk to of a few minutes.  In fact, I often only feel comfortable helping listeners who I have worked with and known for years; a few women in my book club and my children’s sitter come to mind as immediate examples.

But, I have more and more patrons wanting this help. It is not like me not to offer to help someone find “something good to read,” but I have found myself shirking my duties a bit with listeners.  Those of you who know me or have had a training from me know this is a HUGE admission from me.

But now, I have a resource and it is from one I trust and use every day. I am so happy for me and my patrons.  Now I can provide listener’s advisory with the same level of expertise as I can for my readers. Everyone wins!

Click through for more info.

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