This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

September 8, 2005 - Heard Any Good Books Lately?

By Rochelle Logan

We've carried books in print, books on tape, books on CD, and now the latest innovation for libraries is the digital audio book that can be downloaded off the Internet. This type of book can be played on your computer or a portable audio device (PAD) sometimes called an MP3 player. On September 1, Douglas County Libraries began offering downloadable audio books from Recorded Books and netLibrary. Over 900 titles are available including such bestsellers as "1776" by David G. McCullough, "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" by Alexander McCall Smith, and "Hard Truth" by Nevada Barr. More titles are added every month.

Why are we offering this service now? More and more patrons are checking out our audio books on CD. They often have to wait on hold for the most popular titles. With the new downloadable service, an unlimited number of patrons can check out each title with no waiting. You "check out" (download) the book from netLibrary for 3 weeks and can renew one time. When the checkout period is up, the eAudiobook file becomes disabled on your computer or MP3 player. You don't have to remember to return the book to the library. If you are on a vacation or business trip, you don't have to worry about a book going overdue. Up to ten books can be downloaded on your account at a time.

How do you use this new service? Go to douglascountylibraries.org and click on the red audio book icon for instructions on how to get started. Find a step-by-step guide to downloading and information about compatible portable players. You can listen to eAudiobooks on a wide assortment of portable players. At this time, the Apple iPod does not support the wma files (Windows Media Audio) required for this product. Your portable player should also have a bookmarking function so when you turn off the player in the middle of a chapter, it will go back to the same spot rather than starting at the beginning of the book.

If you don't have a netLibrary account, you can set one up for free by going to the netLibrary site from the Douglas County Libraries homepage. Once your account is established, search for an eAudiobook by author, title, or keyword. Then listen to a preview of the book if you like before deciding to download. Once you have decided which book you want, click on download. You have two choices, to download in CD quality, which is a higher quality and is required if you are transferring to a portable player. Radio quality is faster for patrons with a dial up connection. Download "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" in CD quality on a cable modem in less than 10 minutes. A Tom Clancy would take about 20 minutes.

How does the library benefit from offering this service? Downloadable audio books require no processing, shelf space or keeping track of missing and damaged parts. Plus, we know we are offering a quality product when we selected Recorded Books and netLibrary. Our patrons tell us that Recorded Books has some of the best reader performers in the audio book business.

So, have you heard any good books lately?

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