Any Canadian public library can borrow and use an Audio Recording Kit (ARK) from NNELS and any person in Canada can volunteer to record an audiobook for NNELS.
Basics for Libraries
1. Library Requirements
- A library staff member to shepherd the project, trouble-shoot computer connections, and ask for help when it's needed;
- A computer or laptop with access to the internet and Audacity software installed;
- A place – ideally a quiet one, or a quiet time – where a reader can record;
- A good-quality microphone for recording, or a borrowed Audio Recording Kit from NNELS; and
- Children's books.
2. Project Costs
- Cost of shipping an ARK from your library to its next destination;
- Staff time associated with the project.
3. More Information
We have more details about all of this for you on our Information for Libraries page on our wiki.
Basics for Volunteer Readers
With support from your library, we provide everything you need to record a book: the computer, the space, the recording equipment, and the software.
All you need to provide is yourself, some time, and a good book!
1. Recording for NNELS is DIY (Do-It-Yourself).
Unless your partner library offers otherwise, you will need to do most of the work yourself: from engaging the library to finding a book, and then learning to use the recording software and edit and upload your final book. You may also wish to pair up with someone and split up the work, with one person reading and another editing, for example, but that is up to you.
Here are the specific things you will need to do:
- Make friends with staff at your local library. Only library staff can request an Audio Recording Kit from NNELS. It is technically possible to record books by yourself if you have your own equipment, but we are not able to support volunteers recording outside libraries at this time.
- Learn to use the Audacity recording software to create, edit, and complete a recording (we have instructions).
- Generally be able to follow online instructions, and be able to ask for help in our online discussion forums when you're stuck.
- Be careful about how you choose a book, then plan your recording and practise reading.
- Submit a sample recording and make adjustments to your technique, if necessary.
- Record your book, edit it, and then upload it to NNELS.
2. Not all books are recordable.
You might already know which book you want to read, but we have to approve it first. If a book is "commercially-available" (that is, available for purchase somewhere), we are not permitted to make our own recording. Also, many children's books rely on illustrations to tell a story. If the story is heavily dependent on illustrations, it's probably not a great candidate for recording. Want to know more? We have just the thing: more information about choosing books to record.
3. We'd love to have you.
Here are some of reasons people have given for recording books for our collection:
- gain experience to put on a resumé;
- grow more confident with public speaking and reading out loud;
- record beloved books and so share them with others;
- learn technology skills that are practical and can help other people;
- work together, and be part of a community.
The best part of the recording process is listening to your finished book.
Every story counts.
How to Sign Up
Questions and Support
The online forums are the best place to get help with an actual recording project, but if you have any general questions, comments, or suggestions for this website, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you.
Phone: 1.888.848.9250, option 5
The Audio Recording Kits were purchased with support from the Government of Canada's Social Development Partnerships Program - Disability Component. Ongoing support for this program comes from NNELS, the BC Libraries Co-op, and participating public libraries.