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Information for Libraries

Welcome, library people! Thank you for finding your way here. We hope you will feel like embarking on this adventure.

What a Library Needs

  1. A microphone. This can be your own, or you can borrow an Audio Recording Kit (ARK) from NNELS. ARKs include a headset microphone and USB stick in a very sturdy travel case.
  2. A computer with recording software. Our instructions are designed for Audacity, a free and open-source sound editing program, but you can use whatever you already have. Our Audacity installation instructions are below. They are not complicated but budget at least 30 minutes for set-up because you also need to install an MP3 exporter.
  3. A quiet place. Some people use a sound isolation shield, which can be purchased or homemade, to reduce the amount of background noise and echo in a recording, but this generally isn't needed with an ARK. Furthermore:
    • Carpeted floors are good.
    • Meeting rooms are good.
    • Being able to record during closed hours is also good but not always possible.
  4. A book to read. Volunteers will likely choose their own books, and all you might have to do is interlibrary loan a book if it is not already in your collection. If you’re setting up the program yourself (e.g. volunteers haven't approached you), please see how to choose a book.
  5. Treats for encouragement. These are for afterward! Don’t let narrators eat food or drink coffee prior to recording. Water and plain tea, only! Post-recording, you can bring on the goodies! :)

Project Costs

  • Cost of shipping a kit from your library to its next destination;
  • Staff time associated with the project.

Program Benefits

So many benefits!

  1. Engage your community in conversations about making reading more accessible;
  2. Make something great together;
  3. Create something newsworthy for your local paper;
  4. Learn skills which you can then apply to other library programming ideas, such as oral history projects;
  5. Do something fun with other folks.

Here’s why people have told us they volunteer:

  • for experience they can put on resumés,
  • to gain confidence with public speaking and reading out loud,
  • to record books they love and so share them with others,
  • to learn new technology skills,
  • to meet people and create something.

Examples of Library Recording Projects

If your library has a NNELS account (every library does – contact NNELS Support for your credentials if you don't have them), you can log in to the NNELS website to download and listen to any of these books:

For more information about the recording experience for Pemberton and UBCO, you can download their 2017 conference presentation.

Success Factors

Recording projects work best when someone really believes in them.

Ideally, library staff can help with the following:

  1. Determine how the project will work in your library;
  2. Recruit and organize volunteers;
  3. Arrange for books to be available and, if necessary, check titles with NNELS staff for eligibility;
  4. Install software and help set up equipment;
  5. Ensure there is help for trouble-shooting when volunteers run into problems;
  6. Edit the recordings (if necessary — we hope volunteers will edit their own work. That said, if editing is something you or another staff member or volunteer are able to do, it can speed up the recording process);
  7. Upload the final recording (again, we expect volunteers to upload their own work, but knowing what to do might be helpful).
  8. Communicate with NNELS.

Project Support

We offer:

  1. The instructions on this website,
  2. An online forum for discussion and public questions,
  3. Letters of support if you wish to apply for grants to support a recording project,
  4. Support from NNELS staff whenever you need it.

Signing Up

To get started, please let us know you're interested.

Installing Audacity

  1. Download and install Audacity, and the LAME encoder: Audacity and LAME encoder.
  2. Configure Audacity: here are the configuration instructions.
  3. (optional) Familiarize yourself a little with recording and editing tracks. Here is a good video for beginners.

Skip to Step 6 if you want to familiarize yourself with Audacity.

public/nnels/recording/information_for_libraries.txt · Last modified: 2018/09/03 19:53 by sabina.iseli-otto