Six impossible things before breakfast.

A library science student's perspective on life, the universe, and everything.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


With the arrival of spring, the notion of walking to and from class is much more appealing that it was a couple months ago. And these walks are a great time to zone out for a while and listen to music or, if I haven't reached that level of exhaustion yet, listen to audio books. As a penniless grad student I unfortunately don't have a lot of extra money to purchase audio books, and though the library has a great collection, it's hard to make use of it when you don't plan ahead and instead decide at 8:30am that you'd like to have something to listen to when you walk to school at 8:45am. Which is how I discovered LibriVox.

LibriVox, a project defined as an "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain," produces and provides free audio books for users to download. Of course, their scope means you won't find the latest Game of Thrones volume or something recent like The Hunger Games, but there are tons of great titles available. Little Women, Pyle's Robin Hood, Pride and Prejudice, and lots of Dickens. Fiction, Non-fiction, poetry, and dramatic works, the collection is quite diverse. Their lofty goal is "to make all public domain books available as free audio books." Now that would be quite an achievement.

Naturally you run into some issues with a project like this: poor audio quality, scratchy recordings, and volunteers who are obviously well-meaning but have no business going into the field of narration work. There also seem to be duplications of some books (maybe waiting for a quality control system to determine which is the better version?) and I question the usefulness of including recordings that are still works in progress. But I do admire the community behind LibriVox and the feat they are attempting. I will definitely be scouring the site for material to make my morning commute (and my next road trip) a little more enjoyable.

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