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October/November 2013

Discover the World of Audiobooks

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Listening Librarians® A Lifelong Listener Now Selecting E-audiobooks "My guess is that the heaviest users of downloads are busy professionals in their 30s and 40s who listen while they commute or multitask at home or at a kid's swim meet. " —Sean Gyshen Fennell, Emerging Technologies and Digital Content Specialist, Licking County Library, Newark, OH (www.lickingcountylibrary.info) 68 I AudioFile/www.audiofilemagazine.com For as long as Sean Gyshen Fennell can remember, he's been listening to stories. First he was read to by his older brothers and his parents, then by narrators (he remembers falling asleep to Bambi on cassette). Today he listens widely to both classics and contemporary fiction, adult and YA, and is always on the lookout for "the right voice that just takes me away." Before he came to library work, Sean taught photography and digital media at four universities (most recently Bucknell) while creating intriguing artwork around concepts of gender identity. Now in his second year with the Licking County Library system, he orders much of the e-content and uses both his teaching and technical skills to help patrons find what they want and how to access it. We asked Sean: What specific steps encourage downloading through the library? Focus on training staff: In order to impart information about how to dig into digital resources, you've got to know how to handle the technology. Thanks to our director, Babette Wofter, and our board's willingness to take a leap of faith, we've been able to give most staff members iPads and then take them through significant training. Schedule regular tech help: We have two-hour Tech Times for the public each month at the branches and twice a month at the main library. The sessions are geared to help people access our digital content through OverDrive and OneClick Digital, but we are more than happy to teach people how to use their devices, too. Join a consortium: We're part of the 89-library system consortium called SEO (Serve Every Ohioan), and that means a much bigger digital collection and the ability to purchase multiple licenses for popular titles so we can keep our hold times to a minimum. Get the word out: While there's lots of behind-the-scenes work, I interact with the public on a daily basis. Either I'm working one of the desks, or I'm meeting with people, hosting Tech Times, doing outreach programs, or just chatting to patrons I see who have laptops or tablets or smartphones to make sure they know what we have. People seem to appreciate that. Same when I'm out in the community. I went into the bank the other day to have a question answered, and it should've taken five minutes but turned into a 30-minute conversation about the digital collection. The guy made an appointment to come in and see how he can access it all. Tell us about your new LGBT Book Club: "Coming as I did from bigger cities, I was lamenting the fact that I couldn't find any place to touch base with the LGBT community when I first moved here. And then it occurred to me: I work in the library. Why not start a book group? At our first meeting, we ranged in age from 19 to 71, and having this broad mix of life experience has made for very rich discussions. Afterwards, everybody clapped. I'd never been applauded for any class I taught, so it was a very touching moment. As a group we decided to go with an eclectic mix of books, and some, though not as many as I'd like, have good audio editions. Our members are still psyched to meet at the library once a month, and they still clap at the end." (For some of the Club's listens, see sidebar.)—Priscilla Grant

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