Teens and audiobooks

Well, I’m too much in the holiday spirit to stay with a book right now; too many fits and starts and not enough remembering plot or characters.  After my shopping is done, I shall return!

In the meantime, I hosted a family gathering last weekend.  My wonderful nephew perused the bookcases to see what I’ve been reading recently.  He pulled away a stack only to discover a second row secretly stashed behind the current titles.  I heard him audibly gasp when he found the entire series of Frank Herbert’s Dune.  We talked in depth about the sci-fi series to the exclusion of others for a long time, longer than we ever had.  And I discovered that this terrific young man, now twenty-something, did not read Frank Herbert’s masterpiece set, he listened to every one.  Plagued with attention deficit and dyslexia, reading was always challenging.  But he worked hard to read, especially science fiction and fantasy.  When he discovered the Dune books in audio format, he had access to one of the most wonderful sci-fi books written (and he discovered so much subplot to the movies he loves).

I can’t listen to most audiobooks.  Sometimes the narrator is too distracting.  Sometimes there are too many characters or plot twists to keep track of in my aging brain.  But as Ranganathan said, “Every book its reader and every reader his book.”  How amazing that books became accessible to a new audience when they were recorded.  I know, you all probably already accept this, but do you really get it?  I only did when it became personal.

So, to the library director at my practicum site that dismisses audiobooks for children and teens: Get out of your office and talk to other librarians, teachers and the kids themselves!  Hear first-hand what is needed by your patrons!

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