When my kids were growing up, we were regular visitors to the library- we always had lots of print books and books on cassettes (later that changed to cds and more recently to a little electronic device) that we checked out. Most days the kids would sit around the cassette player (later cd player) at some point, listening to stories. Long car rides were marked by audio books – when I reminisce about certain trips, in my mind I can hear the story that was playing when we were driving to that place!
A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about how much I missed audio books. These stories and the togetherness they engendered as we all listened together was so much part of the fabric of our lives. I bought an ereader months ago in order to access library books from the US – you can do this if you have a US library card, which of course I do! At that time I noticed that audiobooks were also available to be checked out but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I sat down to figure out how to access them.
Actually, it’s pretty simple. You visit your library website, and there’s a program available there to download onto your home computer – my library system uses Overdrive Media Console, maybe it’s different for other libraries. Once you do that, all you do is checkout the audio book online and press the button that says ‘download’, then approve the download. At our library system, you can only have six items out at a time on an online account, and books have a fourteen day loan period. This didn’t originally sound too limiting to me, but then I found out that the audio books that are in the format that we check out can’t be returned – they expire after two weeks. It’s a good thing that we have more than one library card!
The limitation of this policy is that is that when we finish an audio book in a day, it has to remain in our account until the due date and we can’t check out anything else. But far be it from me to complain when I’m so delighted that we can once again listen to audiobooks! The audiobooks in our account right now are: The Secret Garden, The Magic Tree House (collection of eight books in the series), Charlotte’s Web, A Bear Called Paddington, The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh and a collection of Dr. Seuss stories. We have some books on the Kindle as well, for dd12 and me.
There isn’t nearly the selection of ebooks available that you can get in person, but it’s a really nice option to have nonetheless. When we lived in Israel years ago, I used to say that there were only two things I missed about the US: our parents and public libraries. While there are still aspects of public libraries in the US that I miss, this goes a long way toward mitigating my feeling of lack regarding public libraries!