The Shifted Librarian -

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* Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Introducing the Spoken Alexandria Project + Podcast

“The Spoken Alexandria Project launches today at with free MP3, AAC, and Ogg Vorbis audiobooks, all without DRM constraints and all licensed with Creative Commons Licenses, so users, libraries, and projects may share them without permission. For interested parties, uncompressed audio files and an MP3 podcast are also available….

From the beginning, Telltale Weekly was designed to be the fundraising wing of a larger audiobook project: an online library of spoken word recordings which anyone else--including parallel (‘competing?’) libraries and projects--could share freely, just as sites like Project Gutenberg distributes its texts. The majority of Telltale Weekly recordings sold (all the ‘Funding a Free Audiobook Library’ pieces) would, after five years, be made available for free at this library, thus continuously stocking (and, more importantly) funding its growth.

Today, sixteen months and 100 spoken word releases after Telltale Weekly first hit the internet, The Spoken Alexandria Project launches. Perhaps a
suitable tagline would be ‘The Free Audiobook Library which Telltale Weekly is funding,’ but we'll go with ‘Creative Commons Audiobooks’ for now.

Read more at:

Emphasis above is mine in order to point out that even if your library can’t afford the subscription fees for the big, commercial audio ebook vendors, you can still circulate audio ebooks….

And how easy is it now to just subscribe to the podcast to get new releases?!  

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Wiki-ing on the Backs of Others

John Hubbard appears to have started LISWiki as a gathering spot for the library community. I experimented with a wiki on TSL last year, but it ended up being spammed to death (literally). I’ve been meaning to try again in order to start tracking some of the “shifted” things libraries are doing, in particular audio ebooks. I know there are libraries that think they can’t do this-techie-thing or that-techie-thing because of their size and/or budget, when the truth is that there are other libraries of their size and/or with their budget that are doing these things. So I’ve wanted to try the wiki thing again in order to help libraries find others like themselves to help each other or share ideas, best practices, etc.

Rather than try to manage something like this on my own again, I’ve added an Audio ebooks section to the LISWiki and quickly threw up a couple of examples. If your library is circulating Audible, OverDrive, or netLibrary/Recorded Books titles, please add your information on that page. My hope is that small public libraries or medium-sized academic libraries will be able to find each other this way to pool information to enhance or even start new services. Wikis are what you make them, so let’s make this one valuable.

Thanks for setting this up, John!

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Video Games Roundup

  • Some folks figured out the ideal mmorpg (massive multiplayer online role playing game) for girls; see them listed at Youth Horse Sim Games. Yeah, it’s a stereotype, but Kailee sure loves them, and I love the disclaimer that “All Sim Games on this page must be designed and maintained by YOUTH.” There’s some content generation, rather than just one-way consumption, for you.

  • Multiple readers sent me the link to The Video Game Librarian article on Gaming Target and its subsequent follow-up, Six Months Later. Circulating titles is only one small slice of my gaming for libraries pie, but they’re good reads, and I agree that circulating one of the main formats for YA content is a valid library service.

  • Letting kids (and adults!) play games in the library is also a slice of the gaming pie, so naturally I think public, academic, and in certain contexts even school libraries, should follow the lead of the Neosho/Newton County Library in Missouri!

    Library Filling a ‘Niche’

    “Murphy practices his bargaining power on the computers at the Neosho/Newton County Library. The library staff has opened the computer lab to teens to play the game three times a week because of increased interest in games and the influx of young adults using the computers.

    Jerry Parker, systems administrator, said the library has made many changes over the years to fit the growing needs of its patrons. Additionally, since library patrons are allowed only two, one-hour sessions each day, the increased demand was tying up terminal space during peak periods.

    Parker said that when he learned that the games, such as RuneScape, that the teens played involved going on adventures rather than violence, it made him see things differently. And as they wait for a free computer, they might pick up a book too, Parker said.

    He said he also learned that other libraries were offering similar opportunities for youths.

    ‘We're filling a niche, especially with school out,’ Parker said. ‘A library is about access to knowledge. It used to be a book is a book is a book, but today we have computers and DVDs.’

    For Murphy, playing the games may be his motivation for walking the 30 minutes each way to the library - he has three brothers at home fighting for use of the computer - but it's not his only purpose in making the trek. He said he also checks out about 10 items each visit, from books and audiotapes to digital video discs….

    ‘I like to read, but I don't like it enough to walk to the library for no other reason than to get a book,’ he said. ‘Sometimes you forget you're at a library.’ ” [The Joplin Globe, via All About Runescape]

  • The Bloomington Public Library is continuing to lead the way in Illinois by hosting a program about gaming and libraries!

    Thinking Inside the Box: Games, Teens and Libraries - Bloomington Public Library
    “Are video games and their related programs the next hot trend? Bloomington Public Library has a good track record in this area and is keen to share their experience. Join Matt Gullett, Lori Bell and Diane Colletti as they explore the issue and potential partnerships.”
    Date: 7/15/2005
    Time: 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

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