Library offering alternative to books on tape, CD|[07/02/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Playaway audiobooks available in Vicksburg through state grant

The Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library is offering a new way to dive into summertime reads – Playaway digital audiobooks.

Playaway’s are self-playing digital audiobooks that are lightweight, compact and easy to use, said Jennifer Smith, assistant director of the library on Veto Street.

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“We got the Playaways because patrons had requested a different format, and it’s the new trend,” Smith said. “We’re always wanting to try something new. I think it will attract a younger population to our audio collection and draw in people we haven’t had before.”

Each Playaway comes pre-loaded with one book; a list of available titles in the audiobook collection are available at the library’s audiovisual desk and in the library’s catalog. The audiobooks will have the call number “MP.”

“Like the library’s current audiobooks in cassette and CD format, the Playaway digital audiobooks deliver sound that is crisp and flawless,” Smith said. “Plus, by using a simple keypad, listeners have the ability to digitally bookmark their place and adjust the voice speed of the book’s narrator.”

Currently, there are about 100 titles available in the new format funded via the Library Services and Technology Act through a grant from the Mississippi Library Commission. The plan is to use them to gauge the popularity of the audiobooks; if they are successful, more will be purchased.

The palm-sized Playaway is designed to be portable, weighing 6 ounces and made from plastic. Each audiobook looks like a hardcover book, but has eight buttons built into the back of the device used to control the system. They also have a universal headphone jack enabling them to be listened to anywhere with headphones, through FM transmitters and with audio cables.

“Playaway devices allow book lovers to escape into a bestselling book wherever they are and whatever they’re doing,” Smith said. “They are perfect to listen to while traveling on a plane, gardening, exercising, cooking or crafting.”

Patrons may only check out one Playaway at a time and are allowed to keep them for a three-week period with no renewals. The audiobooks come in a case the size of a videotape case and will include a fresh battery and instructions.

If you goThe Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library, 700 Veto St., offers programs for children year ’round. This month, activities include preschool and toddler story time at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 9, July 16, July 22, July 23 and July 29, as well as school-age story time at 10:30 a.m. Thursday and July 10. At 10:30 a.m. July 15, the library will host a closing party for its summer reading program. The event, for those who participated in the program, will be in the library auditorium. The library will be closed Friday and Saturday for Independence Day.For information, call 601-636-6411.