Here are some selected annotated citations regarding the benefits of audiobooks; I used APA for my citations. Thanks in advance for your comments! ~Morgan
Benefits for adult students
Fox. R.E. (2004, Winter). Do audiobooks belong in academic libraries? Georgia Library Quarterly, 40(4), pp.9-11.
As the director of the academic library in Georgia with the largest audiobook collection in the University System of Georgia, the author of this article set out to determine whether other universities in that system also had a significant collection of this material. Once determining this, he interviewed librarians at institutions with many audiobooks, and those with few or none. This research process was in an effort to determine if these materials have a place in an academic collection. Fox’s conclusion: there is a place for audiobooks in a post-secondary collection because they supplement any popular fiction that might be in the library’s print collection, provide alternative materials to ESL students, and draw otherwise reluctant library users into the building.
Maughan, S. (2004, August 2). How do you say…? Publisher’s Weekly, 251(310), pp. 18-19.
This article presents an overview of various audio based self-instructive language learning products available from major publishers such as Simon and Schuster, Random House, Barron’s, McGraw-Hill Professional, and many others. Each publisher’s line of products is discussed, with particular attention paid to what format (audio only, audio with print, audio with video, etc) each is produced in and how each format assists the language learning process. The author then goes on to examine the populations who make use of these materials, and comes to the conclusion that these populations are quite diverse (college and high school students, immigrants, older individuals, and many others). The article concludes by discussing the popularity of the materials from various vendors in a range of retail environments.
Benefits for adult individuals with disabilities
Cylke, F. K. (2002). Building a National Service in a Multilingual Environment. Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Association of Caribbean Research and Institutional Libraries.
As part of the “Accommodating All” conference sponsored by two library associations, F.K. Cylke (director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) wrote this overview concerning the methods the Library of Congress uses to provide services to its patrons. He provides a brief history of this service as well as describing how it is funded, eligibility requirements, and materials contained in the collection (including talking books). Cylke then moves onto the “meat” of his paper: how is the NLS serving its patrons who are not fluent in English? He describes several answers to this question. The collection of this service includes materials in fifty-four languages. Many of these items are produced by the NLS. Also, associated state agencies with patrons desiring materials in specific languages are producing or acquiring them on their own. On another level, NLS translates its publications (such as newsletters, catalogs and application forms) into Spanish and employs Spanish speaking readers’ advisers. Finally, Cylke provides examples of how the NLS is collaborating with similar agencies in other countries in an effort to improve international services to individuals who have visual or physical disabilities.
Morgan, G. (2003). A word in your ear: library services for print disabled readers in the digital age. The Electronic Library, 21(3), pp. 234-239.
As part of the conclusion of this article, the author states, “People who are sighted and literate can choose to listen to an audiobook. Those to whom print is inaccessible rely on the format or formats they can actually use.” In order to make this statement, Morgan gives a brief history of the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind (RNZFB) and its services to visually disabled individuals in New Zealand. As part of this section, the author explains the difficulties that analogue talking books can present patrons of the RNZFB due to the fact that these products are linear and not structured He then explains how the advent of talking books in digital format, specifically those in the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) will assist visually impaired individuals in experiencing books in a way that is much closer to their sighted peers.
Benefits for general population of adults
Aron, H. (1992, November). Bookworms become tapeworms: A profile of listeners to books on audiocassette. Journal of Reading, 36(3), pp. 208-212.
The main focus of this article (as indicated by its subtitle) is to determine who reads audiobooks. To determine this, the author sent a survey to individuals who purchased these materials from one production company (Books-on-Tape Inc). She asked questions such as age, gender, level of education, income, and number of books read in print form in the last year. She then went on to query respondents regarding their reasons for listening to audiobooks. One main response was the ability to use time efficiently and read while completing other tasks (and thus read more books); other rationales included the access of individuals with physical disabilities or others who have difficulty reading, the fact that audiobooks add value to the text, and encouraging individuals to try new genres or authors. The author also asked respondents to list any disadvantages; examples of answers to this query included the inability to skim or re-read passages and the physical advantages of a physical book (no need for a machine to play the book, ability to make notes, appearance of pictures, maps, etc). The author concludes her evaluation by stating that, “books on audiocassette are not contributing to the dumbing down of America”
Yingling, J. (1998, July). A study of audiobook users at the Salem, Ohio Public Library.
For his master’s thesis, John Yingling surveyed patrons at the public library in Salem, Ohio. He asked them about their preferences regarding abridged versus unabridged titles, their favored genres of audiobooks, and whether they use the library’s other collections and/or service. The author also asked for demographic information from survey participants in order to determine who is listening to audiobooks. In addition to presenting his results, the author also hypothesized why the trends appeared as they did. For example, Yingling states patrons favor unabridged audiobooks because users of audiobooks are typically over the age of forty and are therefore accustomed to reading/listening to books in their complete form. The author also provides a summary and analysis of his findings as a whole, as well as a review of literature on the topic of audiobook use in public libraries.