DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


Mar 18 2013

Listen Up!

by Nancy M

Bloody-Jack-298431Spring Break is just a few weeks away and I’m sure many of you out there have road trips planned. Personally, I hate being in the car. I was the youngest of 3 kids who always had to sit in the middle seat for our endless 16 hour drive to Lake Michigan every summer. These days, I have a long daily commute to the Library and on my weekends I get to drive around with a toddler who hates being in the car just as much as I do. But I really can’t complain (I know it would seem that’s all I’m doing) because I have access to something amazing…audiobooks!

Now, we have a pretty extensive audiobook collection and they get checked out quite a bit so I know most of you out there know about audiobooks. But what you may not know is how beneficial they can be to your child’s reading abilities. Listening to audiobooks carries many of the same benefits that reading instills in your child plus more. They can help improve language skills, (“oh, so that’s how you pronounce that word!”), concentration, and allow many children who might not be strong readers to enjoy a range of books without hampering their confidence. Plus, there are a ton of really great kid and teen audiobooks out there that parents can enjoy with their kids.

Here is a listing of my top 3 favorite audiobooks in the following categories:

Teen (12-13 and up)

3.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and narrated by Kate Rudd (be warned, especially if you are driving, that you will cry your eyes out. This was the 2013 Odyssey winner.)

2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (narrated by the author as well as a full cast. This is truly an amazing imaginative audiobook experience. The Golden Compass is the first in the trilogy His Dark Materials. Book 2 is The Subtle Knife and book 3 is The Amber Spyglass.)

1. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer (hands down my favorite audiobook ever! Katherine Kellgren is the most talented narrator out there today and Bloody Jack is just the beginning of an expertly narrated series. Check out her other books as well; she is building quite a resume.)

Middle Readers (8-12)

3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (13 books in total with Tim Curry narrating a number of them. The first book is called The Bad Beginning.)

2.  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and narrated by the author (Neil Gaiman lends a perfectly creepy voice to this perfectly creepy tale.)

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and narrated by Jim Dale. (117 hours of pure storytelling delight. Peter & the Starcatchers is the first in another great series narrated by Dale)

For Younger Children

3. Frog and Toad Audio Collection by Arnold Lobel and narrated by the author.

2. Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne and narrated by the author.

1.  The One and Only Shrek! Plus 5 Other Stories by William Steig and narrated by Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep.

You can check out audiobooks at your local DCPL branch or you can download some of them by accessing OverDrive on our website. Click here for Amanda’s tips on how to download audiobooks or check out a tutorial here. And please feel free to share your own audiobook favorites for any age. I’m always looking for good suggestions!

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I am always looking for a way to occupy my time during my long daily commute.  I used to check out audiobooks from the Library but have recently migrated to using the Library’s downloadable audiobook service, OverDrive. I love that I can “check out” an audiobook even when the Library is closed. It can be a little tricky at first especially when trying to use it with an Apple product. To begin using the service, first check out the Library’s OverDrive Page. Both the Quick Start Guide and Guided Tour can help you get started downloading and transfering audiobook files fast.  Here are ten tips that I have found helpful:

10.  You will need your DeKalb County library card number and PIN.

9. Make sure you download the Overdrive Media Console. (This is OverDrive’s software.)

8.  If transferring to an Apple device, make sure you have the most current version of iTunes loaded onto your computer.  In addition, iTunes needs to be set to enable “Manually Manage Music” setting.  See here for further instructions.

7. If using a Windows computer, make sure you have version 9 or higher of Windows Media player.  Also, make sure you have installed the Windows Media Player Security Upgrade by going into OverDrive Media Console, clicking on “Tools”, then clicking on “Windows Media Player Security Upgrade”.

6. You can browse titles by categories (listed on the left under “Fiction” and “Nonfiction”) or you can use the search box on the top right corner if you are looking for something specific.  An easy way to search for available titles is to click “Advance Search” (top right, inside of the orange search box) and make sure “Only show titles with copies available” is checked.  You can leave the other spaces blank, if you just wish to browse.

5. Each downloadable audiobook has different technical and license restrictions, so when looking at an audiobook, pay attention to the “Plays On” icons.  These icons tell you what computers and devices the audiobook will and will not work on based on whether or not they are lit up.  One tricky situation: if the icons indicate iPod-compatibility but not Mac-compatibility, then the only way you can transfer it to your iPod is through a PC.

4. During the check out process, you will be asked to choose a lending period, either 7, 14, or 21 days.  You can only have 2 downloadable audiobooks checked out at any one time, and you may not “return” a book earlier than your selected lending period, so choose carefully.

3. After checking out your audiobook, click on “Download”.  This should automatically open up OverDrive Media Console.  You can then choose how many parts (if not all) you wish to download.   If you wish to play, transfer, or download more parts of the same audiobook within the same lending period, you need only open up Overdrive Media Console and go from there. You would not have to go through the OverDrive website again within the same lending period unless you are checking out a new title.

2. To transfer the audiobook file(s) to a device make sure that you click the transfer button in Overdrive Media Console.

1. The digital file will stay on your computer or digital device even though you might not be able to listen to it past your lending period. You can delete the file the same way you do any other file you have on your computer or device.

Still needing some help with our new audiobook service? Representatives from OverDrive will be at the Dunwoody Library on October 28 with their Digital Bookmobile for you to get some hands on experience with the experts.  Full details here.


Apr 19 2010

The long and winding DVDless road

by Patricia D

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!


Dec 21 2009

CDs and DVDs and Audiobooks-Oh my!

by Vivian A

If you dread hearing “How much longer?” or “Counting cows is boring!” check out your local library for things to check out for your Christmas roadtrips. DCPL has tons of interesting, entertaining and educational DVDs, audiobooks and CDs to engage you and your children on the way to grandmother’s house or wherever you’re headed this holiday season.

Try out any or all of the Harry Potter books read by the vastly talented Jim Dale. Or get a life and listen to someone’s biography or autobiography. Watch a holiday classic like It’s A Wonderful Life or Home Alone.

All it takes is a scan of your library card and you can entertain yourself and your passengers for miles. Who knows you might be so engrossed in your story that you won’t want to stop for anything but gas. If not you can always go back to counting state license plates.


Dec 11 2009

Neil Gaiman on Audiobooks

by Jesse M

Coraline on audiobookRecently, award winning author Neil Gaiman hosted a segment on the National Public Radio program Morning Edition during which he talked about the past and future of the audiobook format. Among the subjects he addressed were whether authors should narrate their own audiobooks (appropriate for some, while others “should never be allowed in front of a microphone”), the various challenges of the recording process (including audiobook performers whose “loud stomach noises” are equal in volume to their voices), and the difference between audiobooks and traditional books.

The segment also includes brief interviews with author David Sedaris and audiobook performer Martin Jarvis. If you are interested in hearing more than the excerpts included in the piece, you can head over to Neil’s blog to listen to the full length interviews.

Of the four audiobooks authored by Gaiman available in the DCPL catalog, he has acted as his own narrator half of the time; both were books produced for younger readers (Coraline and The Graveyard Book). If you, like Neil, enjoy the sound of your own voice, you might enjoy doing some volunteer work for LibriVox, a website which provides free audiobooks from the public domain. Volunteers simply record themselves reading chapters of eligible books and then those recordings are uploaded and released online as free audiobooks (you can search their catalog of available titles here).

One final note: Gaiman will be in town speaking and then signing books at Agnes Scott College’s Presser Hall on December 14th. As the tickets were free, and of limited quantity, it is unlikely there are any available at this point, but I felt it worth mentioning nonetheless. Click here for more info.


IMGP3034aa43xWe are less than a week away from Thanksgiving Day so I thought I would count down 10 things I am thankful for about my library.

10. The Twitter feed that gives me interesting quotes, facts and heads up on library events.

9. The variety of programs that I can attend. (I personally like the musical programs, the new movie series and that the teens are developing some of their own programs.)

8. The DCPL Facebook page (I feel more connected to my community and love seeing some of the dialogue.)

7. The downloadable eAudiobooks some of which can be found in MP3 format. (Check out NetLibrary using GALILEO).  eAudiobooks are only available from outside the library buildings.

6. The number of electronic resources that are available to me for free as a member of the Library. (Check out the Reference Database page.)

5. The e-mail pre-notification that I get when my material is almost due.

4. The variety of movies that are available on DVD.

3. The hold request system. It is great to think of a book, go to the computer, place a request and have the item sent to my current branch. (It usually takes very little time if the item is in. My home library-not this county- takes usually several weeks even with the book on the shelf.)

2.  The wi-fi that is becoming available to more branches. (It works perfectly with my iPod touch and I can surf on my lunch hour.)

1. The variety of books available for my reading pleasure. If the library does not have it, I can suggest that they consider buying a copy for the system or I can use the Interlibrary Loan service to borrow the book from another library system.

What are you thankful about your library? Would you rank my top ten list differently?


Sep 11 2009

Listen Good

by Lesley B

We usually recommend a book to someone because we like the story or the setting or because it’s funny, etc. The other night a patron recommended an audiobook to me because the reader was really good.  Ed Sala’s reading of James Lee Burke’s White Doves at Morning was so compelling that this gentleman had come to the library to find more. The Library includes the name of audiobook readers in the catalog, making it easy to search for a favorite performer:audiobook-reader-search1

From the catalog page, select Sound/Video. From the first search box, select Audiobook Word(s) from the menu. In the second search box, enter the performer’s name.

AudioFile, a magazine devoted to audiobooks, has a Golden Voices list if you’re interested in finding more recommended readers or you might like one of Stephen King’s 10 favorite audiobooks.  I personally recommend Flo Gibson’s reading of Persuasion by Jane Austen.  On the page, Austen is amusing to me; but read aloud she is truly funny, with a wicked sense of humor and great timing.  Have you got a favorite audiobook reader?


Jun 15 2009

Accessories for the Road

by Amanda L


Getting ready for my road trip. Checking my list… gas, tires inflated, extra money, what am I missing? Hey, I don’t have anything to listen to while I cruise. To my rescue again is my local library.

The Library has audiobooks on compact discs and they have some that you can download.  You can see a list of new audiobook titles on CD using the Library’s RSS feed. Click on the feed for audiobooks. You can read the list online or you can subscribe to the feed and read it through your RSS reader.

The Library’s downloadable audiobooks have gotten friendlier to iPod users and those of us with basic MP3 players.  You can access eAudiobooks through Netlibrary by using our homepage.  The eAudiobook link  can be found under the eLibrary tab. Netlibray has WPA file Audiobooks that will work with some MP3 players and then MP3 file Audiobooks that will work with MP3 players and iPods.

Once you get into Netlibrary, you will need to set up an account for yourself. It asks that you create a user name and password. I usually recommend using your library card number and pin number since you just used this information to gain access to Netlibrary. (I try to keep things as simple as possible.) You can browse the titles in Netlibrary or you can search for particular titles.  To find those MP3 titles, you can sort by format. This is rather handy if you have a basic MP3 player or an iPod.

Not sure how to download eAudiobooks? We have an FAQ page that might be helpful. You will need to have Windows Media Player or iTunes loaded onto your computer in order to transfer the file to your MP3 player or iPod.  If you are still having problems downloading an audiobook, feel free to call us or use our Email a Librarian service. Make sure you select need help finding information and one of our Reference Librarians will get back to you via e-mail.  Now I’m off to download some audiobooks for the trip!


Sep 25 2008

What Will You Wear to the Audies?

by Jimmy L

Did you know there is a yearly awards ceremony for audiobooks? While you won’t find Sean Penn or Cameron Diaz at the Audies, you will find many audiobook recommendations from fiction to biography. The award was first established in 1996 to honor excellence in production and performance, as well as in the actual writing. Categories range from Audiobook Adapted from Another Medium to Multi-voiced Performance.

Here are some winners from the 2008 Audies (links go to DCPL’s audiobook in the catalog):

We have many more audiobooks available through the NetLibrary eAudiobooks service, where you can download audiobooks onto your home computer.

Other relevant links:


Love the Library’s eAudiobook service but have an iPod?  Unfortunately, there are currently no vendors offering downloadable audiobooks to libraries using Apple’s digital rights management format, but there are a few free options available for you on the Internet.

LibriVox is a volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.  LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then “release” the audio files back onto the net.

Classic Poetry Aloud provides podcasts of, well, classic poetry.  If it’s Shakespeare, Pope, Keats, and Shelley you’re looking for, this is the place.

Podiobooks Listeners to Podiobooks.com can choose to receive the episodes of their books via an RSS feed or by listening to episodes by directly downloading episodes from the site.  The site is free, but donations are accepted to compensate authors, who permit their works to be available on the site.

openculture is a site that collects podcasts, videos, and online courses that are freely available on the web, and claims to “sift through all the media, highlight the good and jettison the bad, and centralize it in one place.”  The link provided here takes you directly to their audiobook collection.