Yanchep resident comes to neighbour’s rescue with purchase of 70 audiobooks


Bethanie Beachside Village. Picture: Martin Kennealey d481790
Bethanie Beachside Village. Picture: Martin Kennealey d481790

THE gradual disappearance of audiobooks from library collections upset a Yanchep resident so much his neighbour bought out the remaining supply.

John Collier recently noticed the choice of audiobooks available through the City of Wanneroo’s library collection was dwindling.

“Like many other people who are visually impaired and otherwise unable to read, I depend very much on the talking books,” he said.

Mr Collier said he made inquiries and it seemed old copies were not being replaced, reducing the resources available to library members.

“There aren’t many facilities for the visually impaired,” he said.

“This is one of them and it’s being gradually whittled away.”

At this week’s Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association meeting, Mr Collier said a neighbour at Bethanie Beachside came to his literary rescue and bought about 70 audiobooks for 50 cents each.

“They will be available here to the people who use them – we’ve still got to figure out how,” he said.

State Library of WA chief executive and state librarian Margaret Allen said public libraries, including Wanneroo, were responsible for selecting and removing items in their library stocks.

“Audiobooks remain very popular and the State Library is not removing them from public libraries,” she said.

“In 2017 almost 15,000 physical audiobooks and 2000 digital audiobooks were ordered and supplied to WA public libraries.

“Members of the community can approach staff at their public library and request that they stock more audiobooks.

“Audiobooks are also available to inter-library loan from other libraries in the City of Wanneroo and other public libraries across WA.

“Members of all public libraries in WA also have access to downloadable e-audiobooks from the comfort of their own home.

“More than 8000 e-audiobook titles are available to download with an internet connection and a device such as a mobile phone, tablet or PC.

“Public library staff can assist library members to access to these resources.”

The City of Wanneroo was also contacted for comment and a spokeswoman said it was withdrawing one “obsolete” format of audiobooks but not audiobooks generally.

UPDATE, April 26: The City’s community and place director Debbie Terelinck said audiobooks were not being removed from City of Wanneroo Library collections.

“Our libraries currently have 5521 audiobooks in CD or MP3 format in the adult collection and 500 in the children’s collection,” she said.

“We also have a further 6608 eAudiobooks available through Borrowbox and Overdrive.

“The only audiobook format that has been removed from the collection is the Digital Audio Players (also known as playaways).

“This format is now outdated and very underused, so the budget was focused towards the more popular and heavily borrowed eAudiobook format.

“The City had reduced purchasing of these over the past few years and from July 2017, stopped purchasing them completely.

“The last of the playaways were removed from shelves in March 2018, after notifying customers in the February edition of the Library eNewsletter.

“Library staff are always happy to assist customers in sourcing audiobooks in the other formats.”

Discarded library books are donated to ParaQuad Industries, based in Shenton Park, which sells them through its book bazaar.

The book bazaar is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 3.30pm. Call 9381 0195 or visit www.slfwa.org.au for more information.

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