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.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Call to Action Requested Rerun-- Listening to a Book IS Reading

Last week, while I was at ARRTCon, someone came up to me to ask what she should say to people who insist on arguing with her that listening to an audiobook is NOT the same as reading it.

We were in between other things and I only could talk to her briefly, but I did promise to post something on my blog about it. While looking through the blog over the weekend with her question in mind, I found this Call to Action from June 2016 when I address the various arguments against audiobooks as reading and debunk them.

I double checked all of the links and they still work. Please click through or read the post below. It is a well reasoned argument against those who continue to claim that listening to a book does not qualify as reading it.

Don’t forget there are many Call to Action posts archived here that deal with a variety of these larger issues. You can always check there for more information.

And finally, thanks to the person who asked me the question when she saw me. I talked to so many people at ARRTCon I can’t remember exactly who asked me this question, I apologize for that. But, please if there are questions you have about serving patrons please contact me, anytime. I want to help you deal with the issues that are most pressing to you as you need the assistance, but I need to know what those issues are if you don’t tell me.


MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2016
RA for All: Call to Action-- Listening to a Book Is Reading
As I mentioned here previously, June is Audiobook Month, and although it is 2016, there are still loud voices out in the wider world that claim Audiobooks are NOT READING!?!

Today, I am calling those people out. Unfortunately, I have met some of these people and they work in libraries and help leisure readers. I have even talked to book discussion leaders who forbid their participants to listen to the book. Recently. Seriously.

To these people I say, “YOU ARE WRONG AND STUPID.” There is no middle ground here. I cannot and will not apologize for this opinion.

One of my very first posts on this blog [9 yrs ago] ever was an article in the New York Times in August of 2007 which questioned “Are Audio Books Cheating?” I have had strong opinions on this topic for a long time, and it saddens me that I still have to fight this fight. [Click herefor everything I have tagged audio books, including reviews.]

If you come across one of these library workers or a patron who wants to tell you reading audio books is not reading, you have my permission to chastise them.  In fact, if you are not allowed to tell co-workers and patrons they are wrong and stupid, I get that.  It’s not always the best idea, so I have a solution. Quote/cite me and yelling at them. I really don’t mind. Say Becky says you’re wrong and stupid...

...Or, you can use some of these more polite ways to counter this uneducated opinion.

First read the post from No Shelf Required entitled “Are you a “reader” when listening to an audiobook? Yes of course.” Not only are there links to documents that support the educational and literacy benefits of listening to audiobooks, but they are also announcing their increased audiobook content. Yay, more places for audiobook reviews.

Second, contemplate this point from that same article:

"And please think back to when you read the book The Reader (or watched the movie with Kate Winslet). Did you consider that perhaps it’s not only about the Holocaust and coming to terms with the past? Wasn’t it also about a woman who couldn’t read but insisted that the man she was having an affair with read to her out loud? Wasn’t she THE READER even though she wasn’t the one reading?"
That is a succinct, moving, and accurate argument.

Third, look up the definition of “reading." Reading is not solely defined by reading words on the page of a book. It never was before and it certainly isn’t now. The definition supports me in this statement. “Reading” is the activity of interpreting the world around you.

When it comes to interpreting stories specifically though, the word is used for watching a play, listening to music, reading graphic novels, the newspaper, etc... At libraries we also teach Internet literacy-- how to read the information we find on the web. All of this is reading.

I could go on forever ranting about the problems with saying that “reading” only counts when you sit down and look at a physical book, but that is a side rant off the topic of today’s call to action.  Let’s get back to audio books, this is their special month.

As an experienced audiobook reader I can honestly tell you that I experience the story in the same way whether I read the page or listen. For me, some books are better if someone reads it to me, and still others I would never have gotten through on paper, but I can’t imagine my life without having “read” them.  Seveneves is the most recent example of that last point.

Experiencing a story is reading it. How you get the story into your brain is your choice. But if you get  it in there, you have read it. Simple as that.

So get out there and start finding people a story-- whether it is real of fiction. This is what we do. But don’t ever tell them there is only one correct way to read.

No comments: