Heading to ALA?

Always wanted to narrate an audiobook? Get on the mic and go to Oz at the “Lend Your Voice” project. Here’s the scoop from Random House Audio‘s Katherine Fleming, who’ll be running the recording sessions:

American Library Association Annual Conference attendees better start warming up their vocal chords now, because at this year’s ALA, they’ll get a chance to lend their voices to a very special recording—  a “community sourced” audiobook. Participants will read from L. Frank Baum’s beloved classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, bringing to life the characters of Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow. The recording will take place from June 25 – 27 just two blocks away from the Washington D.C. Convention Center.

In an effort to encourage awareness of audiobook downloads, Random House Audio has partnered with OverDrive, the leading global distributor of audiobooks.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz will be recorded inside their Digital Bookmobile, a high-tech 18-wheeler that tours North America to promote digital audiobook and eBook downloads from public libraries. To highlight the increasing popularity of audiobook downloads – which have grown 20% over the past two years – Random House Audio will release this recording as a digital exclusive that participants and others can download and share online.

To participate in Lend Your Voice, eager narrators can stop by the Digital Bookmobile located across the street from the Renaissance Hotel (at 999 9th St NW) to read a passage from the book. The studio will be open to the public (although children under 18 will need a parent or guardian) from 12 p.m.- 8 p.m. Friday, June 25 and 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, June 26 and Sunday, June 27.

All proceeds from the download will be donated to First Book, an organization that promotes child literacy by distributing millions of books to children in need each year.  Random House Audio will also be donating audiobooks to First Book as part of this project.

Now that I can claim experience behind the mic after my role as a chicken in the Weston Woods studio, I hope to broaden my resume as a Flying Monkey in the “Lend Your Voice” studio. Dollars to donuts that Booklist‘s Keir Graff will be there – he’s had his thirst whetted for the dazzling fame of audiobook narration. I threw down the gauntlet and challenged Keir to record his short story “Reading is My Business” (a noir look at the life of a hardboiled book reviewer) as an self-recorded audiobook. You can read about his do-it-yourself escapades behind the mic here, and hear the result here. It’s pretty darn good – his voice has the rasp of a man who has inhaled too many books on deadline, and the sound effects evoke the grit of the Chicago El. And man, Graff nails the growl of the story’s character that strikes terror into all Booklisters – the nefarious Bill Ott.



Posted in: Audiobooks
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About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

1 Comment on "Heading to ALA?"

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  1. kgraff@ala.org' Keir says:

    You bet I’ll be there! It’s already on my agenda…

    Reminds me of an Onion headline I saw once: Morgan Freeman Narrating Uncontrollably.

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