Tag Archives: audiobooks

When I want an audiobook, I get it from the library.

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We’re super happy to share that we have another eAudiobook service for you – RBdigital! So now you can get eAudiobooks from Overdrive, hoopla, and RBdigital with your library card!

Here’s what you need to know about RBdigital:

  • It’s awesome.
  • There are currently close to 350 audiobooks to borrow from it. The entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is in that collection! No more Droughtlander as fans wait for Season 3 to start. (Yes, this is a survival tool too.) Plus, there are many other great books by authors like Miriam Toews, Anne Perry, Richard Wagamese, Janette Oke, Ian Rankin, Stuart Woods,  Jojo Moyes, and more.
  • You can borrow 10 items at a time.
  • You can borrow each item for 1-21 days.
  • No holds! The audiobooks available from RBdigital are available all of the time.
  • No late fees! Audiobooks will return automatically when the borrowing period is up.
  • Renewing a book is easy. Some audiobooks can be long (and wonderful), so don’t feel like you need to rush.
  • You can listen to the audiobooks on your mobile device and computer. And it’s easy to get set up. Read on to learn more about how to do that.
  • It’s awesome. Did you see what I did there?


We’ve created some step-by-step documents to get you on your way. If you’re using a mobile device, check out this guide: RBdigital app for mobile devices. If you’ll be listening to the audiobooks on your computer, check this one out: RBdigital on your Computer. And (as always) if you have any questions at all, Ask Us!

So exciting!

Reegan (an audio-bibliophile)


It’s so nice to hear your voice.

There was a time when I believed that audiobooks were cheating – that books were to be read, not listened to. Well, I found out that I was wrong. And what brought me to this conclusion was motherhood – plain and simple. Very early on in motherhood I found out that I had little (read: no, zero, zilch) time to sit and read a book when my motherhood phases went like this:

  • The “Nap when the baby naps” stage, followed by the…
  • “He’s standing on his own two feet – better watch!” stage, followed by the…
  • “We can’t catch up with him! He’s running so fast! Did he even walk?!?” stage (pant, pant), followed by the…
  • “We need to get him up, feed him, get him to school, go to work, get home, eat, get outside, get him ready for bed” stage, followed by the…you get my point.

So whether I was pushing a stroller outside, or in the car on the way to get groceries, or making a meal, I could do these things AND listen to someone tell me a story. Audiobooks kept me connected to stories when I could no longer sit and read a book.

Fast forward to nine years later and audiobooks are something that I still enjoy and that have become an important part of my family’s culture. We listen, think about, and laugh to them. We feel the suspense, share the dread, and also fill up with the hope that the stories inspire. We have one playing in our car at all times and before we’re even buckled in I often hear our son’s voice pipe up with, “Mom, can you turn on [book title]”? At home, we listen to them when building Lego or making a meal or exercising.

Now it goes without saying that a great audiobook depends on a great story. Add a terrific voice to that story and you, the listener, will be transported on a wonderful journey. The following are several of the voice actors that we love to listen to. It was through their voices that we started our journey into audiobooks and have yet to look back (although we will gladly re-listen)! It just so happens that these voice actors also tend to read great stories! But instead of trying to explain what makes them very special, I will let their voices do that. Their voices really do say it all.

(Click on each narrator’s name for a full list of their audiobooks at the library. And in case you don’t already know this, you can borrow audiobooks from us in two formats: CD and electronically through our eAudiobook services, Overdrive and hoopla.)


JIM DALE reading from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.


DAVINA PORTER reading from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.


NEIL GAIMAN reading from Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman.


JAYNE ENTWISTLE reading from As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley.


JOHN RAFTER LEE reading from Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.


KRISTOFFER TABORI reading from Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

For more audiobook recommendations check out AudioFile – avid listeners, advocates, and reviewers of audiobooks for all ages!

Many great audiobooks await you! Happy listening!

~ Reegan

“Secret” Things the Library Can Do for You: Part 2, Totally Online Stuff

HERE IT IS. The long-awaited second installment of things you never knew about the library. Today we’ll be talking about some of the techy secrets – the things the library offers 24/7 through our website.

Woman with laptop looking shocked.

I know. I’m excited, too.


A lot of times when I have to tell someone there’s a waiting list for a book they want they seem so disheartened. “But don’t give up!” I say, “there are audiobook versions! And eBook versions! And eAudiobook versions!” Often they end up with the book they want, just not how they expected.

(I know it can be daunting to get set up with a new format, but remember, you can always ask us for help.)

So here’s a super quick run down of the online and downloadable info and entertainment you can get through us, in case it helps you find something fun, interesting, or informative. It can all be found through our website as shown below, or through our eMedia Guide.


I drew the red arrows myself.


Warning: A lot of these services have nonsense names, so it’s easy to get confused. But you’ll get used to it!


More than 5000 eAudiobooks!

I’ve just recently become reacquainted with the joy of being read to. It’s a fabulous way to squeeze more reading into your life, since you can do it bussing or driving, or while doing housework, cooking, or gardening. We offer two ways to find thousands of electronic audiobooks – through OverDrive and Hoopla (more about both below).


TV and movies! And music!

hooplaHoopla also offers free streaming of movies, TV shows, and popular music. No holds, wait lists or fines. Hoopla! A different music service, called Naxos Music Library has tons of classical, folk, world and jazz music.



zinDownload full-colour, complete issues of magazines, like US Weekly, National Geographic, Mental Floss, Newsweek, Cosmo and more straight to your tablet with Zinio for Libraries. And then they’re yours to keep forever!


eBooks, so many ways!

We are a library, after all, and books are a big part of what we do. Some of our eBooks can be read right in your web browser (no apps to download or set up). This is offered through: Overdrive,  McGraw Hill, Tumble Books, and Bookflix.

McGraw Hill eBooks offers eBooks in lots of subjects like business, computing, nursing, languages and sciences chemistry, mathematics, psychology, accounting and computing.

tumblebooklogoTumble Book Cloud and Tumble Book Cloud Junior have eBooks, read-alongs, classic works of literature and audiobooks for EAL audiences, high-schoolers, and elementary school kids. Read-alongs are especially great for those still struggling with reading, or for EAL students. There are never any waiting lists for these.

Tumble Book Library is also great for kids as they are animated, talking children’s picture books adapted from print books, but made interactive with quizzes, puzzles and memory games.

BookFLIX does something pretty unique, in that it pairs classic storybooks with related non-fiction books, so kids can learn new things in the context of their favourite stories.

frodWe also subscribe to two downloadable eBook services – Overdrive and Freading – so that you can download books to your mobile device (smart phone, tablet, or eReader) and take them wherever you go. Overdrive is great for popular, newer titles. Using it is very similar to print books, though, in that the library pays per copy of each book, so you might find yourself on the waiting list for something in demand. Freading is great for when you want to find an ebook right away as they offer unlimited use of the books we purchase from them.

Did you already know any of these secrets??


Happy reading (and watching, and listening)!

– Erica

Suspended Holds and Auto-Checkout now available for OverDrive

We’re happy to announce that some long-anticipated features are now available in our OverDrive eBooks/eAudiobooks catalogue:     

Suspend a Hold

suspended3This feature allows you to temporarily suspend a hold on an item in the waiting list. Just like when you suspend holds in our “physical items” search catalogue, your position will continue to advance in the queue while the hold is suspended, but the hold will not be filled. This can be useful for a number of reasons, like stopping new book deliveries while you’re at the cabin for a week or away from your email, or if you’ve got ten books to read and can’t check out anymore until you’re finished with them.


You can choose to suspend your title for 7, 14, 21, 28, 60 or 90 days. Once the suspension ends, the title will go back to advancing in the list until the hold becomes available. If you advance to the first position in the waiting list while the hold is suspended, the system will skip ahead to fill the next available hold – but you’ll stay there waiting at position #1 until your suspension ends. If you’d like more details, here’s a link to OverDrive’s instructions on their Help site.

Auto-Checkout for Holds

At the time that you place a hold, the option to ‘auto-checkout’ the title when it becomes available can be set.


autocheckoutsIf you choose this option, you will receive a notification email when your title is available, but the email is just to confirm that it has been checked out and can now be found on your account bookshelf. Basically, when the previous user’s loan period expires, the book automatically adds itself to your account. You’ll still need to log in and download the item to your computer or tablet from the bookshelf page, but you won’t have to worry about the hold expiring after 96 hours if you miss the email!

If you select this option but are unable to borrow the title at the time it becomes available (for instance if you’ve already reached your maximum checkout limit) you’ll be sent the same hold notification email you’ve seen in the past and will have the full 4 day/96 hour hold pickup period to make your checkout. If you leave the auto-checkout option unchecked, you’ll also get the old 4 day/96 hour notification email.

Here’s an article in OverDrive’s Help that explains this in more detail.

“Recommended for you” collection

recommended for you

After you sign in, a collection of recommended titles will appear on the homepage. Recommended titles will be available for checkout and suggested based on titles you currently have checked out or on hold. If you do not have any checkouts or holds, this collection will not appear.

Maturity Settings

Two options have been added to the Account Settings page that will allow you to customize your browsing and discovery experience based on content maturity level:

1. The ability to exclude certain content based on the maturity level (Juvenile, YA, General, Adult). This will allow adult users to exclude titles for younger readers and young readers to exclude adult-only titles from their experience.

maturity levels
More information how to use this setting is available in this Help article: http://help.overdrive.com/customer/portal/articles/1492447.

2. The option to “mask” all adult cover images with a basic cover image. This option will be set to “No” by default.

cover images

Search Relevance Improvements

Based on feedback from users, the default word used between your search terms in the OverDrive search box has been changed from “OR” to “AND.” What does this mean? Basically, previous searches for ‘Stephen King’ would return all records that contain either the word ‘Stephen’ or the word ‘King.’ That means in addition to books by Stephen King, your search result list would show books by Stephen R. Covey, Laurie R. King, etc. With the new search style, your search will only return records that contain both the words Stephen and King. The new search style means the number of results returned for a search will likely be lower than with the old search behavior, but the relevancy of the results will be higher.

If you have questions about these new services, drop us a line in the comments!


And the Audie goes to…

Awards season is starting to heat up in the literary world. These literary awards make my job easier, as I try to order copies of short-listed and winning titles.  Helps me spend our budget amounts wisely, helps get good books into our library’s collection, and (hopefully) helps make our patrons happy. Some of the awards I monitor include:

Coming up this weekend are the Audie Awards. These awards are given to recognize distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment, and is sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association. Some of the awards relate to types of writing, including abridged and unabridged fiction and non-fiction, and such genres as romance and mystery; other awards recognize excellence in different styles of narration and production, such as multi-voiced performance and production values. This year’s finalists are an impressive bunch, and I can’t seem to make up my mind on potential winners.

So in honour of the Audies and audiobooks in general, and because I am once again late with my blog posting, I’d like to present WPL’s top 20 most popular audiobooks for the past month, and determined by you, the reader listener!

litigators20 – The litigators, by John Grisham, read by Dennis Boutsikaris
19 – The black box, by Michael Connelly, read by Michael McConnohie
18 – The lost years, by Mary Higgins Clark, read by Jan Maxwell
17 – The power of now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle, read by the author
16 – Private games, by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan, read by Paul Panting
15 – The bughouse affair, by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, read by Nick Sullivan and Meredith Mitchell
14 – The hit, by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy
13 – The sins of the father, by Jeffrey Archer, read by Alex Jennings and Emilia Fox
Bughouse Affair12 – Don’t go, by Lisa Scottoline, read by Jeremy Davidson
11 – Two graves, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, read by René Auberjonois
10 – The innocent, by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy
9 – Whiskey Beach, by Nora Roberts, read by Peter Berkrot
8 – Guilt, by Jonathan Kellerman, read by John Rubinstein
7 – Gone girl, by Gillian Flynn, read by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne
6 – A week in winter, by Maeve Binchy, read by Rosalyn Landor
5 – The casual vacancy, by J.K. Rowling, read by Tom Hollander
4 – The storyteller, by Jody Picoult, read by various narrators
dontgo3 – Alex Cross, run, by James Patterson, ready by Michael Boatman and Steven Boyer
2 – The forgotten, by David Baldacci, ready by Ron McLarty and Orlach Cassidy
1 – Six years, by Harlan Coben, read by Scott Brick

— Barbara

Hello, my name is Sophie and I am an audiobooks snob.

If you’ve never met an audiobooks snob, then you should probably count yourself lucky.  We’re kind of like wine snobs, except way nerdier: we’ll talk your ear off about things that no one should really care about, and spend way too much time bemoaning the fact that 90% of the thing that we love is absolute dreck.

Bartimaeus Trilogy

Bartimaeus Trilogy

When the Library first launched its OverDrive digital audiobook service, I went from CD audiobook tolerator to obsessed downloader pretty much overnight.  The moment of truth for me was the day I was refinishing my floors — audiobook player in pocket, sound-cancelling headphones in ear — and got to the end of Book 2 in a series of three and realized I could download Book 3, immediately, without even leaving the house. This was a *very* good thing, because I was covered head to toe in sawdust and only had so many hours left on my Home Depot floor sander rental.

I’m fiercely committed to audiobooks.  I might have REAL books and ebooks falling off my shelves waiting to be read, but if I’m getting to the end of my latest audiobook and don’t have a new one lined up, I go into panic mode.  Part of the lure is their fierce multitasking power: audiobooks allow me to devote time to books that would otherwise just be lost.  Take the morning commute, for example.  While I see other people reading ebooks and print books on the bus, I can’t do it because I’m paranoid about missing my bus stop, and looking down at a printed page (while it makes the bus ride fly by) puts you in this alterna-universe where you forget to notice ordinary things like “where you are” and “why it’s a good idea to occasionally look up.”



Audiobooks, though, are completely MADE for the bus. You get to read the book AND pay attention to the world around you.  And when you get off the bus, you don’t have to stop reading.  Extra time that can be harvested for reading?  GOLD.  Strangely, I find that looking around at the scenery actually helps me pay attention to the narrator; when I’m just sitting and listening and not also doing some other task, my mind wanders and can’t focus on the story.  That’s why audiobooks are also perfect for repetitive tasks like gardening and housework; the task keeps your mind on the book, and the book keeps your mind off the task. As an added bonus, you end up with a catalogue of associative memories tied to specific places/actions — the pit I just dug in my backyard brings up the bank scene in Orson Scott Card’s Pathfinder, and rereading The Book Thief takes me back to walking the bike path between the Forks and Osborne Village — strange, vivid sense memories that are burned into my mind by the combined enjoyment of both place and story.

So I love audiobooks, but yet I will also refuse to listen to the vast majority of them. I’m RIDICULOUSLY picky. A book that’s good on paper is not necessarily a good audiobook, and vice versa.  Award-winning?  Doesn’t matter. What I crave is that elusive audiobook experience that improves on the book, brings the characters to life in ways my own brain couldn’t imagine, makes me dread the last disc because it means it will all be over soon.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Really, what it all comes down to is the narrator.  There’s a limit to how long I’ll spend listening to a voice that I don’t like, even if I’m just a tiny bit bothered by it.  Some audiobooks are 10 to 20 hours long, and that’s a pretty big commitment for someone who has a patronizing attitude, or who puts inflection on the wrong sentences, or leaves inflection out entirely, or reads EVERYTHING like it’s a fire alarm announcement, with Giant. Dramatic. Pauses between each sentence.  If the narrator is reading the book “wrong,” I give it the old heave-ho, delete, next! treatment so fast it spins.  It’s hard to explain how something can be “read wrong,” because everyone reads the way they read, right?  Wrong. Good audiobook narrating is not about reading, it’s about acting. Audiobook readers just say the words on the page, whereas audiobook actors rehearse, think about the character, build their backstory in their minds and say the characters’ lines deliberately with all of the characters traits, flaws, habits in mind.  I ONLY tolerate audiobooks narrated by people who get that difference.  And I’ll rarely pick up an audiobook with a full cast of voices, because the likelihood that they’ll ALL be good narrators is slim. Boy, does that ever limit my choices.

So, like all snobs, I’m hamstrung by my own refusal to accept the mundane.  And even though one of the top lessons I’ve learned in my years as a snob is to NEVER take advice about what to listen to (because how could anyone live up to impossible standards?), I’ll leave you with a list of my recent favorites:

His Majesty's Dragon

His Majesty’s Dragon

His Majesty’s Dragon and others in the Temeraire Series, by Naomi Novik. Brilliant series, even MORE brilliant in narration.  Simon Vance’s Temeraire voice is genius and has totally made it impossible for me to read this series on paper.
Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L. A. Meyer. A hilariously campy and contrived historical fiction series which is narrated BRILLIANTLY by Katherine Kellgren.
The Ruby In the Smoke and others in the Sally Lockhart Mystery Series by Philip Pullman. The whole series is great–something about those British accents…
The Dead and the Gone, The Last Survivors Series, Book 2, by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Book one was terrible on audio; book two shook me to the core.

And of course my all-time favorites, a triumvirate of audio bliss:

The Book Thief (again, as mentioned above) by Markus Zusak. I’ve listened to it twice now and both times had me weeping like a baby in public.
The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus trilogy) by Jonathan Stroud.
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo. Three times so far.  And will probably listen again.


Antidote for an endless winter

The price of oil is dictating frugal staycations and given the dubious pleasures of modern travel, I am opting to stay at home with a good book to escape the dreariness of this neverending winter. Here is my prescription for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) whilst living in the icy clutches of a long Winnipeg winter.

READ Every Day in Tuscany, the sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun. Frances Mayes continues her memoirs of the voluptuous delights of life in Italy. You too can recreate those pleasures in the comfort of your own home and save a bundle to boot.

COOK – Ever since reading Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, a thinly veiled account of her divorce from Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame and one of the first novels to have recipes peppered throughout, I often cook up her pasta puttanesca. Nigella Lawson does her own version of pasta puttanesca which she calls “Slut Spaghetti” and she includes it in her latest cookbook Kitchen. Concocted by ladies of the night after a long shift, this pasta was composed of ingredients readily found in the cupboard: artichokes, anchovies, capers and tomatoes. It is incredibly simple to prepare but the flavours are intensely sophisticated. Follow up with a post prandial caffe correto espresso and a shot of Frangelico and you’ll swear you are on the Spanish Steps.

While the pasta is boiling LISTEN to Puccini Gold with arias  performed by renowned opera stars. Or pour a hot bath and brush up on your Italian  a la Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love with an  audiobook courtesy of Electronic Libraries Manitoba. This database offers free downloads of ebooks or audiobooks free of charge.

WATCH the lavish HBO/BBC production of Rome on DVD. Set in 1st century BC, the series begins with Julius Ceasar’s conquest of Gaul and ends with the double suicide of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. One of the most expensive TV series ever, the $110 million budget allowed for the recreation of villas, the Forum and slum areas of ancient Rome. The score is recorded using the ancient instruments of the time and the extras play their professional counterparts – i.e. butchers play butchers.

There you have it. You have avoided the indignities of airport security and the misery of jetlag while enjoying la dolce vita like a true thrifty Winnipegger!