TODAY'S TIP: Audiobooks from Librivox

Looking for a book to listen to while you lay on beach, blot out the engine noise in an airport or try to ignore the 37th verse of 99 Bottles of Beer on your road trip this summer?

We’ve already introduced you to the many audio resources San Francisco Public Library offers, from books on CD to those available to download to your ipod or mp3 player from NetLibrary and Overdrive. Today’s tip is all about a favorite resource of some of us here at Excelsior Branch: LibriVox.

LibriVox is a volunteer-driven digital library of over 3000 ready-to-download books in the public domain. The variety of the available files is tremendous, from histories to short stories to classics of literature. You can read an account of the death of Lord Nelson by a surgeon who tended to him, finally make it through all of the Canterbury Tales, or hunt the white whale in Moby Dick. Librivox recordings are available in many languages, from Afrikaans to Yiddish.

Volunteer readers record books in the public domain and post the audio files to Librivox. Texts of the works are taken from the fine folks at Project Gutenberg. The goal of the volunteers at LibriVox is to make all public domain books available as free audiobooks. Audiobooks are available as mp3 files or ogg (an open-source file format) and ready to play on your computer or transfer to your favorite portable device. Instructions for downloading are available here.

If you’d like to volunteer your time for the “acoustical liberation of books in the public domain,” it’s very easy. LibriVox volunteers do not need any prior experience, nor do they need to audition or send in samples. All you need is your voice, free software, your computer, and maybe an inexpensive microphone.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

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