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Goshen Public Library and Historical Society

Across the Reference Desk

by Fran O'Gorman

October 18, 2000

Audio books or sound recordings (sometimes referred to as Books On Tape) are a particularly popular part of our collection. The adult portion of this collection is located near the back door of the library. The children's portion is located against the east wall of the balcony. (That's the wall where the oversized books are.)

There are some important features to these collections that should be noted. Probably the most important is that, due to its popularity, only a small percentage of what we own is on the shelf at a given time. So if you don't see what you want, don't give up. Place a hold. If you are uncertain as to how to do that, check with us at reference; we are only too happy to help you.

Audio books come in abridged and unabridged editions. If your time is limited the ABRIDGED edition might fit the bill perfectly. But, if you're concerned about hearing the entire uncut version, then the UNABRIDGED edition is the one for you. If you are placing a hold, or we're doing that for you, it's important to be sure which version you're selecting. Also, the voice of the reader can be of significance. Sometimes it is the author who is the reader. Some people have favorite readers who are recorded frequently. In either case, these distinctions can be determined by checking the catalog.

To determine whether or not a certain title is available in audio or not, there are a variety of options. Using the online catalog we can search by title and then limit to audio books. Another way is to peruse the printed list of Goshen owned audios available at the circulation desk. It is safe to say that most bestselling novels are avalable in audio book format also. The format is so popular that on many occasions the audio book is available at the same time as the release of the novel itself, especially those by bestselling authors. If we don't have a particular title in that format it may well be available through interlibrary loan from another RCLS library.

If you have access to the Internet, you can search for audios and place holds from your home or office. Begin by accessing the Goshen library page at This designates Goshen as your pick up location. Click on "Catalog." Next, click on the blue WebPAC Java icon. The Java version of the catalog allows holds and limiting. In the left column, click on "Library Catalog." Choose the correct index by clicking the arrow and highlighting your choice. For example, choose "Title" and type CIDER HOUSE RULES, click on "Search." The screen shows an alphabetical list of titles beginning with Cider. Click on CIDER HOUSE RULES, then on "Show Details." The screen now displays many editions of this title. Glancing down the column labeled "Format" you can pick out audio versions of this novel. Remember to highlight a title and click on "Show Details" to determine whether it is abridged an who recorded it. Once you find the version you prefer, click on the "Place Hold" button and follow instructions.

If your initial search results in too many choices to scroll through, for example if you entered author "King, Stephen," you should click on the "Search Settings" button and select "Sound Cassettes" to limit your list. Once again, highlight a specific title and click on "Place Hold." You will be notified when your audio book arrives at the Goshen Library.

Audio books offer an enjoyable way to experience great novels, particularly at times when reading would be impossible, such as when exercising or on long car trips. If you unfamiliar with this format, you should consider giving it a try. You will be joining a large group of listeners whose numbers are increasing daily. Goshen Public Library is beginning to acquire books on CD. They are located on the last shelf of the audio collection. We would appreciate feedback from the public on their performance.