Audiobooks and entertainment for those needing to self-isolate

As someone who has previously worked into the library service, I have seen the difference it makes being able to provide books and other library materials to those service users who are unable to visit their library in person. I would like to propose some investment in making small, inexpensive devices available onto which audiobooks can be loaded (perhaps Kindle devices or something similarly cheap) and compatible with whichever digital service is being used to be provided for anyone who is currently unable to leave their home. One of the greatest barriers to accessing these services, which already exist to some extent, is the ease of use of the technology. I am proposing that something such as a Kindle with accessibility features such as large fonts and different screen resolutions and colours would work well, and a team of volunteers could help load the reading material onto these devices and make some tutorials to explain how to use them. As libraries are closed at the moment and a lot of people don't have the money to pay for subscription fees, nor the devices necessary to access this, I would hope that some of the funding usually spent on libraries could be rerouted to help support a scheme like this?

Why the contribution is important

Reading for pleasure is something that provides a lot of people with comfort and relaxation. We need to be doing more as a society to ensure that vulnerable people have more than just the basics to survive on. The simple joy there is in listening or reading a story should be available to everyone.

by EllieMc on May 07, 2020 at 02:21PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.0
Based on: 5 votes

Comments

  • Posted by lmg1612 May 07, 2020 at 15:04

    Actual books are a lot cheaper than kindles etc. Can be bought in supermarkets or online. Where do you end the giving out of free stuff? How do you decide who gets it? It's a no from me. Unnecessary expense.
  • Posted by EllieMc May 07, 2020 at 16:42

    The problem with actual books is that they would be very difficult to recycle from one service user to another and nowhere to store things. I am concerned for those vulnerable people, most likely of pensionable age that cannot get to a supermarket to buy books, nor afford to. Libraries are a vital part of our communities, and free access to books and learning should be made available to everyone, but especially those stuck in isolation. I am sure that a deal could be arranged with companies that manufacture or distribute the kind of devices I'm describing for very low cost. I am deeply concerned for the quality of life experienced by those who cannot leave their homes, and this would be a relatively low cost solution to people not being able to access a type of recreation a lot of us take for granted. I know my Grandad has certainly appreciated being able to make use of technology in order to keep in contact with the outside world. But for those that don't have the means to purchase something like an iPad, or perhaps don't have an internet connection in their homes to support downloading books or other media, this would be a viable offering. I would like to see as much as possible done to try and help improve the quality of life for those self-isolating, as they might have to continue shielding for many more months. I worry deeply about the effect this has on their mental health, and I think the benefits outweigh the costs involved.
  • Posted by EllieMc May 07, 2020 at 16:44

    There is also already a system in place to determine who is at risk and needing to self-isolate, so it would be quite easy to decide who might be entitled to such a scheme.
  • Posted by DervalDam May 09, 2020 at 19:00

    As the Mother of a child who is currently being assessed for dyslexia... - she is 8 - I am subscribed to audio books on Amazon for children. There is a restriction of two a month. The subscription is £7.99 a month for "borrowing" 2 books. Ordering any more on top of that is really expensive . And it's often the case that when she chooses one, she listens to it for a chapter or two and doesn't like it... But tough! She is at an she where she wants to explore books herself. We still read together. But exploring literature herself feels hugely important just now. And we are now getting advice on reading material for her school topic... It's The Romans. I am on Universal Credit... Realistically if I was to access the books she wants \ needs just now it would wipe us out! Therefore I wholly support any initiative to make audio books more accessible... Selfishly... Especially children s books.
  • Posted by EllieMc May 10, 2020 at 10:18

    You're absolutely right, DervalDam -- there are currently several promotions running with various companies, but we need something a little more long-term for those that cannot access their usual library services. And for those complaining about people getting 'stuff for free', I believe in equality of opportunity and that it is wholly wrong to deny people access to books and library services. They are an essential part of our society's infrastructure. People shouldn't be denied access to books and learning because either they cannot afford it or cannot physically visit their local library. It might require a little charitable activity to be able to set a digital library scheme up, but that's not a reason to say no.
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