It used to be that librarians just didn’t tell our library users what we thought about books. Revealing our opinions might cause people to avoid us for our “bias.”
In the new millennium, librarians are getting bolder. Sometimes we come out from behind our service desks, mount our horses, and tell people what we think. Hence Everett Public Library’s “Lone Reader” vocal book essays.
Voice files are a fine way to introduce readers to books. The human voice has mesmerized people since alpha cavemen used it to snow their colleagues around Neolithic campfires. The voice is an intimate medium that creates pictures in people’s heads. Professional-quality, low-cost digital recorders make beautiful vocal files. But resonant sound is just a beginning. You also need something interesting to say, and you don’t want “uhhhs,” or throat clearings, or tongue trips.
I write a script and record the sound file, then use sound editing software to edit out all the vocal trash. The software allows me to bring in separate audio tracks for music, sound effects, and our opening and closing intro snippets. I bring it all into a session and tinker until I’m satisfied. I try to make the pieces entertaining. But you be the judge of that.
Music helps set the mood. But music can’t just be grabbed and used. Grab Madonna’s “Die Another Day” and you’ll be lassoed and hogtied by Interpol or Warner Brothers, or maybe even by Madonna herself! With copyright concerns, you need to find music you can use.
The books I talk about are just ones I read. I don’t read books just to talk about them.
Why’s it called the Lone Reader? Truth is, there was no escaping that name.