We were a few hours into a 13 hour car trip when tragedy struck. The hand-me-down portable DVD player, meant to provide a pain-free way to while away the miles for the members of the Back Seat Club, failed to deliver somewhere south of Lexington. As a veteran of I-70 through Illinois and Missouri, I knew we could pass the time with show tunes, cow counting, keeping a sharp eye for State Troopers, and one endless tutorial in knock-knock jokes. We made the trip with only minor complaints but of course my family was ready to run out and get a new DVD player for the Back Seat Club because 12 hours on an interstate without a Disney movie apparently equals child abuse.
As I contemplate the purchase, I’m at odds with myself because even though this is a good way to keep the dreaded “Are we there yet?” scenario from playing out between state lines, I don’t think it’s good for a young brain to be subject to such a passive activity for a 12 hour stretch. A dear friend very sensibly put a stop to this inner struggle when she said, “Look, get a little MP3 player instead, download books from OverDrive and the BSC can listen to stories while counting cows.” The woman is brilliant. Listening to stories will do so much more good than an 84th viewing of the Lion King—it improves vocabulary, increases comprehension, and most important of all in this Google world, it develops an attention span that will last long enough to get through a college lecture.
Getting books in MP3 format can’t get any easier either. OverDrive is a new downloadable audiobooks service at the Library and has a permanent home under the “eLibrary” menu of our homepage. You can also get to it from the Reference Databases page. You may check out two items at a time, with your choice of 7, 14 or 21 days circulation. You’ll need to download the OverDrive Media Console the first time you use the product but it’s easy peasey. Click on the Quick Start Guide once you’re in OverDrive for simple step by step instructions. Before you know it you’ll have something you can listen to on your PC, MP3 player, and in some instances even your iPod. You just need your library card. Go forth! Listen to books!