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#LibrariesAreEssential Case Study – Audio Book Group, Stockbridge Library, Edinburgh

Category: #LibrariesAreEssential, Blog, Case Studies

In this #LibrariesAreEssential series, we’ll be sharing case studies and contributions from key figures that demonstrate the vital value of Scotland’s libraries, now more than ever, as we look to a brighter future post-pandemic. For details of how to submit your own case study, please click here.

Have you Heard a Good Book Lately? Stockbridge Library’s Audio Book Group

Case study kindly submitted by Carol Marr, Lifelong Learning Development Leader

‘It all began a few years ago with the start up of ‘Have you Heard a Good Book Lately?’, an audio book group which met monthly in Stockbridge Library. Since April 2020, we have met online. The catalyst for the group originally came from a library member who regularly attended another library group whose aim it was to provide digital training and support to people who had a visual impairment. We already ran a number of book groups in the library using print-based book collections, but these were not always available in audio format. It was apparent that there was a gap in provision relating to accessible book formats. This coincided with an expansion of the libraries e-audio offer, originally hosted on RBDigital and now merged with Overdrive. We knew that we also had to have access to multiple copies so we could listen to the same title that month. Thanks to the libraries digital team, we now have an excellent selection of titles that are always available. Our book choices have certainly been varied, the main purpose being that the book must be good for group discussion. Some of our recent book choices include: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee and The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elizabeth Gifford. In February we invited local author Anne Pia to talk about her new book, Keeping Away the Spiders. Since going online we have expanded our group, with one member tuning in from Dingwall. Overall the audio book group has been a huge success story: enabling access to the digital world of books, letting members learn new digital skills through online meetings, providing an inclusive place to enjoy books for people who have sight loss, and of course for anyone else who likes to listen.’

‘Learning new digital skills has been a huge plus in my role as Development Leader to support others in connecting with the library and the world of books.’

Feedback from members of Stockbridge Library’s Audio Book Group:

‘I enjoy our audio book club for the social contact. Even though we can’t meet in person in the library, I really look forward to our online discussions. It’s been a huge plus listening to different books and being introduced to new authors.’

This article from the Reading Agency and RNIB articulates the benefits of reading for people who have vision loss.

Over one thousand audio books are available from Edinburgh City Libraries – click here to explore their collection!

‘I enjoy our audio book group for the social contact,’ said one library member. ‘Even though we can’t meet in person in the library, I really look forward to our online discussions.’

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