Reading with Our Ears

June is Audiobook Appreciation Month, so this format of reading is on my mind even more than usual. I had wanted to share something highlighting audiobooks, but was lacking inspiration until recently when I was cleaning out old email messages (because Outlook keeps “yelling” at me that my inbox is too large) and came across an article I emailed to myself back in 2014. It sparked an idea for this blog post.

Audiobooks have been consistently increasing in popularity for several years. For the 11th year in a row, the Audio Publishers Association has reported that audiobook revenue percentage in the American market has grown double digits. It’s been estimated that the North American children’s audiobook market will rise from nearly $100 million to over $650 million by 2028. It’s safe to say – this is a growing market.

The popularity of podcasts and the lack of available CD players, either in cars or at home, mean fewer families are looking for physical audiobooks to enjoy. While many titles are available through digital downloads via Hoopla and Overdrive/Libby, libraries are also up against businesses such as Audible (which I admit to using, because not everything is available for libraries to purchase) to fulfill their listening needs.

How does that affect children’s services? Demand for audiobooks is growing by leaps and bounds, despite many still thinking that audiobook listening doesn’t count as reading. More educators and library patrons are recognizing how much the format is beneficial to literacy – not only for reluctant readers and auditory learners, but also those who struggle with reading due to learning disorders such as dyslexia.

My library branch just reopened after flooding over the Christmas holiday weekend lead to a complete restoration and renovation project, so we haven’t been promoting Audiobook Appreciation Month much beyond a small display highlighting audiobooks for various age ranges. (NOTE: only a handful of library books and media were lost in the flood. The carpet, walls, and circulation desk – that’s another story.)

So tell me. How are you celebrating Audiobook Appreciation Month? What ideas beyond displays do you have to promote audiobooks to your patrons?

This post relates to ALSC Core Competencies of II. Reference and User Services and IV. Collection Knowledge and Management.

Today’s blog post was written by Amanda L. S. Murphy, Brookfield Branch Manager at Warren-Trumbull County Public Library in NE Ohio, on behalf of the ALSC Managing Children’s Services Committee.
She can be reached at murphya@wtcpl.org.

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