Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Elders and Others: Free Audio Book Resources. Have at it Jeff’s Daddy!

(Better than a Starbucks Pick-of-the-Week cuz I brew it myself)

The Simple Romantic singing a traditional American spiritual on youtube

 On the way back from the pre-supper dog walk tonight, I ran into my neighbor Jeff . He might have been planning to finish unloading his car from a trip to the snow, and I might have thought I was going to go in and make supper. Well, so…. instead there we were visiting at the foot of our driveways, while Dave went on in and got the cornbread started.

Jeff mentioned that his father has recently gotten an mp3 player and started to listen to audio books. As anybody might expect, elder citizens commonly have vision and auditory issues. Reading may just be harder than it used to be. Their own headset attached to an mp3 player, ipad, kindle, or good old-fashioned computer,  can make a big difference to their leisure reading. Heck, audio books are easier for me to process now that I have to pull out a pair of reading glasses.

Hmphhffff! When did they start making that print so small?

I listen to both audio books and podcasts on an mp3 player quite a lot, while walking and also when I have domestic tasks. Not being a big fan of housework I’d rather be listening to Michael Krasny’s “Forum”, NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”, or Mark Twain’s,  Roughing It  then focusing on a greasy dish or dusty piano lid.

Though I’m glad to hear that Jeff and Chris bought several audio books for his Dad, that he’s apparently enjoying quite a lot, there are a  resources for FREE audio books that are particularly useful for people who might be on a fixed income. Just for a start those include:
·     Public Library Systems Online
·     Project Guttenberg
·     Librivox.Org

Jeff asked for some form of electronic communication he could send on to his dad that listed just a few of these resources. Here it is. The links are both spelled out and displayed, in case you want to print this for somebody.

Have at it Jeff’s Daddy! 

1) The public library. My library system allows me to check out an audio book from home, via the web and the barcode on my card. Yes, I do know that barcode by heart. I can get audios from different libraries within our county library system. The audio will be available for me to listen to for three weeks. My local reference librarian told me that I should be able to get a library card at most libraries in California by showing them my local card. I currently have cards for three different nearby county systems.

Figure out how you, and an elderly relative, might get creative with that between the two of you.

Most public libraries also have books on cd that you can check out by visiting the library. Or maybe your library has a Book Mobile that stops in at the senior center. Our library system has an excellent online catalog that allows us to search for materials we want delivered, from libraries throughout the county.

2) Project Guttenberg is the Grandaddy (or is that Grandmama?) of the free, public domain ebook. They have audio books as well as ebooks and full-text  public domain books people still read the old-fashioned way but on new fashioned electronic readers like their home computers, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device. As of today Guttenberg says that they have 33,000 free public domain volumes.

Go to

Full text is handy also when you’re looking for that elusive reference. I was once surprised to find  that somewhere in a Jane Austen novel, she used the word ‘lame’ just as it might be used today. Wait a minute while I check the full text of “The Complete Project Gutenberg Works of Jane Austen, A Linked Index of all PG Editions of Jane Austen” and tell you where I found that. (

I’ve used Project Guttenberg on the web since 1993, but  the project goes back a lot further than that

3) I’m also a fan of Librivox. They specialize in free public domain audio books.

Some people find favorite books by reading book reviews. I tend to find them by wandering around in the stacks in a library. The Search by Genre link on Librivox reminds me a lot of wandering around within the collection itself.

My sister prefers the Advanced Search page.



  1. You are suc a great resource-locator! Thank you for all this info.


Please sign at least your first name, even if you are leaving an anonymous comment :-)

I'm sure everyone will be polite!