Engaging Methuen Readers

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Find the Library At Your Place!

Every year, in the third week of April, we in library land invite you to celebrate National Library Week with us.   The novel coronavirus has caused libraries to close their physical buildings on the recommendation of public health officials and the American Library Association (ALA), but we remain open for business online and continue to support our communities with resources, services and programs.

The Nevins Library has continued our services with an active social media feed (you can follow us on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest); free online access to e-books, audio, and magazines through Libby (Overdrive) and free downloadable music from Freegal.   Some of the new databases we’ve added into our arsenal of resources you can access from home are:  Miss Humblebee’s Academy, an interactive kindergarten-readiness program; High School (Gale In Context)  to support student learning, papers, projects, and presentations; Ancestry From Home, perfect for anyone doing genealogy research; and now at-home access to The New York Times newspaper.

Don’t know what to read?  Try our “What Should I Read Next?” readers’ advisory service or check out our A Book A Day Tumblr for suggestions.  For browse-able collections, look through Libby (ebook and eaudio)NovelistPlus (fiction and nonfiction), the Audio Book Cloud (available through August 31, 2020), and the Romance Book Cloud for those addictive, steamy romances.

For the kiddos, our delightful children’s crew have put together some fun virtual storytimes.  So kids and parents, please continue to sing and read along with us!

If you don’t already have a library card and would like to access these resources, please contact Circulation Services and they will create a temporary card for you.

Thank you to all our library supporters!  We can’t wait to see you again and welcome you back to our physical building.  Until then, continue to use all of our virtual resources and stay in touch!




To The Audiobooks I’ve Heard On My Ride To Work

Image result for libby overdrive logo

Time spent behind the wheel of my car is time not spent engaged in productive activity, such as learning to play the flute or weeding geraniums. Whether I would become a musician or gardener with the time I now spend driving every day is an open question. However, there is still an opportunity to become, if not well-read, then at least familiar with a broad range of literature. This is especially true when the drudgery of the automobile is paired with Libby, the free library audiobook app.

Libby is an access portal for OverDrive, which is probably the most popular e-book and e-audiobook lending platform currently in existence. OverDrive hit the market early and hit it hard, rolling with every technological upgrade and innovation and shift. Within five years, CD audiobooks gave way to MP3s downloaded through OverDrive’s media app and loaded onto iPods, which in turn gave way to downloaded and then streaming audiobooks that never left the efficient angular nest of the smartphone. And it was all free.

I lean heavily on Libby for my audiobook joy. One of the things I most appreciate about it is that my demands are usually not met. If I had my way, I’d read nothing but bizarro apocalypse science fiction, in the same way that if I had my way I’d eat nothing but sushi and chocolate covered potato chips. Research conducted by me indicates that a diet of extreme, gore-oriented science fiction is about as good for your mind and social skills as a diet of carbohydrates and raw fish is good for your physical longevity. Literary fiction uplifts and transforms. It fosters empathy, cognitive skills, conversational awareness. That’s why it’s good, for my sake, that OverDrive is a veritable desert of screamingly weird garbage. When a book is available – and that is an event worth jumping for – it is normally an example of either Literature or Education. Currently, I am listening to Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, a collection of short stories that wrestles with identity and place and is definitely Literature. My last audiobook, A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard, was Education, albeit satisfyingly gory and strange. The combination has populated my dreams with pregnant ambulances agonizing about their relationships with their fathers, so I assume that whatever is supposed to be making me a better person is working.

I hear these books out as I plow microscopic furrows in the asphalt to and from my place of employment, usually listening at double or triple speed. That’s how I know I was born into the right era: I can listen to an audiobook at thrice the speed of speech. (Or half, if I’m working my way though a children’s book in Spanish.) Without the magic of audiobooks, my available reading opportunities would be consumed and expelled with my car’s exhaust every day.

In a world where I could ride the train to work, I could be more productive. I could pair my audio commute with my latest crochet project, for example, rapidly reducing my holiday gift and personal reading lists simultaneously. But I don’t live in a world where eco-friendly travel infrastructure is considered a priority, alas. I live in a world where I sit rigidly in a confined space, watching an hour-long movie about all the ways that other cars can barely miss my front fender. And in that world, audiobooks are more than entertainment. They’re a heartbeat in a sensory deprivation chamber. They’re the lone bulb in my mental safe room.

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June is Audiobook Month

June is Audiobook Month, and for good reason.  Kids are getting out of school, and parents are planning family outings and trips to beloved summer destinations. College graduates are thinking of a last fling cross-country road trip before buckling down to internships and serious jobs. Commuters are gearing up for longer, slower driving on the roads, for you can be sure that once the temperature climbs higher, traffic thickens.

For all these reasons, it is glorious to have audio books, whether it be on CDs, Playaways, MP3s, or e-audio, to take you away to another world while you roll or inch your way through our nation’s roadways.

We have several avid audiobook listeners on staff, so I asked my colleagues to share some of their favorite titles and narrators:

Miss Shirley (Children’s Services):  “As a lover of audiobooks, I find the narrator chosen can have an enormous impact on my enjoyment of the story.  Jim Dale, who verbally creates the Harry Potter characters in the J K Rowling series, stands at the top of my list.  I feel as if I can “see” the scenes he creates with my ears!”

Sarah (Readers’ Services):  “I was a big fan of Roy Dotrice performing The Game of Thrones books (at least the first two – I haven’t gotten farther than that yet).  He did a wonderful job with all the many different character’s voices.  Also, Lin-Manuel Miranda is amazing on the audiobook for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.  And that was way before my Hamilton obsession began!”

Tatjana (Reference): “I love listening to the narrator Simon Vance because he has such a lovely, clear British accent (In Euphoria by Lily King, for one) but he can also take on many other distinct voices and accents as he did in the audio rendition of Kim, the classic by Rudyard Kipling.”

Kathleen (Reference): “David Sedaris is the best–especially Me Talk Pretty One Day.”

Sue (Children’s Services):  “I like when a book is told from the view point of several people and in an audio format there are different people voicing the characters.  The last book I listened to that was read this way is The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock. ”

Kirsten (Reference): “My favorite reader is Davina Porter.  She makes the Outlander series come alive by imbuing the characters with their own inflections in her Scottish accent.  I don’t know how she does it , keep all the characters straight and then she’ll even throw in an American accent to keep it real.  Love all her narrations and will even look for her specifically when browsing for audible books.  Can’t wait to start a new one soon, great for long vacation road trips!!”

Who’s YOUR  favorite narrator?  And what will YOU listen to this summer?