Welcome to June, aka Audiobook Month!
It's no secret that I love audiobooks. Heck, I just presented at Reaching Forward a session titled "All About Audiobooks." My favorite question to hear is "I'm going on a road trip, can you suggest any audiobooks?" But not everyone approaches the reference desk to ask, which is why I do my best to provide a mix of active and passive reader's (listener's) advisory in my library and on our website. If you've been looking for ways to promote your collection and boost circulation, June is the perfect time to start. Check out my suggestions below for ideas!
- Create an Audiobook Month display in your library, whether you are able to give it a special place in a high traffic area or if all you can do is put up a small sign and some titles on an end cap.
- Use engaging graphics and keep your text to a minimum. There are great resources out there for librarians creating posters, including LibraryAware (my favorite) and Canva. You can also find royalty free stock photos on sites like Pexels—do a search for "headphones" or "listening" to find good audio-related photos.
- Think of why your patrons may be interested in audiobooks. Some of the biggest are road trips, commute, and during a hobby like gardening, exercising, or cooking.
- During summer especially, having something to listen to on a road trip is a priority. Create a display of good audiobooks to listen to on long drives, with a spouse, or with kids in the car. Or hey, use mine.
- Provide print takeaways with suggested titles. Here's one I made of suggestions to listen to with the whole family (appropriate for kids, but interesting for adults). This lets listeners browse suggestions, take some for the future, and it makes it easier for staff to help recommend items, even when they don't listen to audiobooks or feel uncomfortable with reader's advisory.
- You should be including audiobooks in displays year-round! I firmly believe that every library display should be diverse in multiple kinds of representation (race, culture, identity, orientation, etc.) and in multiple formats. Your displays shouldn't be just print items, they should include graphic novels, Large Type, music, movies, and, yes, audiobooks (CD and Playaway!).
Here are some of the bibliographies I've created for my library. All of them include covers, a synopsis, and a link to the catalog. At the top of the page, there's a printer friendly version complete with call numbers. All of these have been made into beautiful bookmarks found on all audiobook end caps and on displays.
- Celebrity Memoirs Read by the Author
- For Podcast Fans
- For Quick Trips
- For the Whole Family
- Nonfiction Audiobooks
- Stories for Your Road Trip
- To Listen with Teens
- Audio Advisory Drop-in. Every June I host an Audiobook Advisory Drop-in in the library's main lobby. I set up a table, grab a coworker, two laptops, and we spend the next two hours helping patrons find the perfect audiobook for them. We use our themed bibliographies/bookmarks (links above), our personal knowledge, and reader's advisory tools like NoveList, which has an audiobook listen-alike section on their website. I usually bring along some "sure bets" to set out on the table, most of which are checked out by the end of my shift.
- This year and last year, I've also used this drop-in as an opportunity to show off the library's Audiobook iPod, which is filled with Audible exclusive titles and checks out for 3 weeks. Because our iPod has been checked out constantly for the last 11 months, I'm going to be showing off how easy the app is to use on our department iPad, but the content is the same. Another reason we have laptops is so we can place items on hold, like the iPod.
- Narrator Visits. These are so much fun; they're like author visits, but with an audiobook narrator. There are few things more enjoyable than hearing your favorite narrator read live. I was once at Day of Dialogue and they had four or five of the best narrators ever, including Simon Vance, January LaVoy, and Deon Graham and I almost died, y'all. Anyway, you can bring these narrators to your library, probably for free! Last spring, Books on Tape helped me bring Jayne Entwistle to my library to give a live reading and a look at how audiobooks are made. The patrons loved it!