Get to know WTBBL’s audiobook production in their new webinar

Get to know WTBBL’s audiobook production in their new webinar

On April 29th, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library’s (WTBBL) Director, Danielle Miller; Audio Book Production Supervisor, John Pai; and Assistant Manager, Alycia Ensminger, hosted a webinar, Getting to Know WTBBL’s Audiobook Production, for the Washington State Library. This webinar discussed how an audiobook is produced: starting with selection of materials, the narrators and narration process, production and editing of recordings, and the final stages of production as staff prepare the audiobook for circulation.

The speakers gave an overview of how the studios of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library produce hundreds of audiobooks annually which are then made available to WTBBL patrons and patrons of other National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled network libraries. These books, which total over 10,000 hours of recorded audio, have been circulated or downloaded over 208,450 times since 2009. It’s an impressive production that requires the support of many volunteers and staff hours.

A WTBBL patrons enjoys her audiobooks on her mobile device
A WTBBL patrons enjoys her audiobooks on her mobile device.

WTBBL focuses mostly on producing books by Pacific Northwest authors or books about the Pacific Northwest to supplement the national collection of titles.

At any given moment, there are an impressive 350 books in various stages of the production process. That’s a lot of coordination! Also, only three department staff work with over 80 narrators and 20 reviewers to record, review, edit, and markup audio books for final production – a process that can take up to a year per audiobook. 

This webinar is a great opportunity to learn more about the time and talent it takes to produce and circulate audiobooks at WTBBL, and can be found on WTBBL’s YouTube channel or the Washington State Library’s Niche Academy

A volunteer narrator records a book in the studios at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library.
A volunteer narrator records a book in the studios at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library.

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library is a program of the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, and a regional library for the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), of the Library of Congress. WTBBL provides services statewide, at the library and by mail, to any Washington resident unable to read standard print material due to blindness, visual impairment, deaf-blindness, physical disability (cannot hold a book or turn pages), or reading disability. Learn more at wtbbl.org.

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