Wednesday, 11 January 2017

all change - libraries updated and Radio 4 Extra

Our local library was a great resource, particularly for talking books, which I use in the car and whilst knitting.  However despite being well used, it was shut down by the Council as a cost saving  measure.  Do they realise what a huge hole something like that leaves in village life?!

Online library books
However, many libraries now have a free on line resource.  They use different packages to provide this, but a common one is Overdrive.  My own local authority does not have an online resource as yet but the Cargegie library of a neighbouring authority does.  I was able to join their main library years ago becuase I worked in the area.  Most main libraries in the UK will let you do that and it allows me to access their overdrive resource.  You often cannot join a branch library in this way, but there is no need, because once you have a main library ticket, it works for all the libraries in that local authority area.

Older syle Kindles will not work with Overdrive but the website pointed me to a free Overdrive app, This allows me to access both audio and e books on my phone and it could not be easier.   There are thousands of books.  So I sit the phone beside me in the car and can hear it pretty well except in windy weather.  Putting inside  a hard plastic box of some kind really boosts the volume, so I am on the lookout for a suitable receptacle.    If you want to access the books on your phone, get the app on your phone, although there is also one for laptops.

For actual books, you can look up the catalogue for most local authorities online, and get books sent from another library to yours.  Then just return them to your own library.   So here is what I do:
1. Identify a series of books I want to read.
2. visit Fantastic Fiction and check what order to read the books in.  This is an amazing resource.
3. Write a list and put it in my 'reading' folder.
4. find out which ones the online library has
5. find out which ones all the other libraries in the area have and add all this info to the reading list ready to order them in turn.
6. check on Amazon for any that remain and order those at the cheapest price possible.  this is often not a Knidle copy, but a second hand paper back.  actual books also have the advantage that we can both read them more easily.
7. Start reading!

It takes a bit or organising to get started but all the organising takes less time than one on line or physical shopping trip.  About one to one and a half hours.  I got a bit stuck with the Overdrive account to start with but phoned the main library.  They re-activated my library card as I had not used the one there for some time and gave me the default passcode start me off and to access the site.  Then it was easy.

Other libraries
I am a sucker for buying books on holiday.  We had a timeshare in Aviemore for some time and I joined the library there.  I merely had to show the documents proving we had a temporary address there.  It saved me about £30 per holiday in book buying.  Now I can access Overdrive from anywhere so it is far less of an issue.

And if you can't sleep, you can get a book right then.  When I was away on a ten week bike trip and had a rough night in the tent, I was able to download a library book and read it in the dark on my phone. 
Many out of copyright books are available free online and the one below is a particularly good list.

Radio 4 Extra
this is an Internet radio station so can be accessed from anywhere.   There are lots of archived items such as plays, detective programmes, books read outloud and other things.  You can also access it live via digital radio. 

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