Hear here…

While I don’t think our setup is unique, there have been a number of questions about audiobook collections recently, so I thought we’d share our experience: I’d love to hear about any suggestions you have in the comments below.

Here are the ways in which we provide audiobooks to our users:


I know that the cost doesn’t make this a feasible option for everyone, but the functionality of OD fits our needs perfectly, so we view it as a digital subscription rather than an investment in the collection. Many of our students and staff members have the app: some download books for class use (eg. English or history lit circles), others pick something fun for a long commute. Increasingly, students come to us from schools where they have used OD, and they’re thrilled that we have it as well. The OD Marketplace makes it easy to browse and purchase items, although it can take a few hours for the title to appear in our collection. I love the ease of cataloguing: the free MARC records are easy to upload into Destiny (although I need to put in a Destiny enhancement request to update the CD icon to something more current!)


We have many students who require audio versions of assigned books (mostly for English) because of an IEP. Not all of them are available through Overdrive unfortunately, so we use Audible when need be. Audible allows users to connect up to 3 devices to each account (we have 2 accounts so that we can have 6 devices available): I’m very upfront with their customer service about being a library and have never had an issue. We chose to use inexpensive mp3 players intentionally: they don’t cost much to replace, and their decidedly un-cool design encourages students to return them to us rather than keep them. It requires us to purchase, download and transfer the files to the mp3 players, but it’s more ‘just in time’ than Overdrive.

CNIB Digital Library

I’m not sure if this is rare case of ‘only available in Canada’, so I’m curious to know if there’s an American equivalent. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind has an excellent digital library which is open to anyone with text disabilities: our students with learning challenges meet their criteria. It used to be a time-consuming process (memberships had to go through public libraries, involving layers of applications), but I was thrilled to discover this year that they offer an educator license which allows me, as a public library card holder, to access the files directly and share them with students entitled to access – seriously awesome. I do have to be very clear with the students about the terms of use: files are for their personal use only, and must be deleted when they’re finished with them.

What’s your preferred method of providing audiobooks to your users?

One thought on “Hear here…

  1. Awesome, Shelagh — we also use FollettShelf e-books for our recreational reading needs. I was not aware of the new CNIB Educator license, and will look into that for our students with IEPs. Thanks for sharing!

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