Learning from audiobook usage in public libraries during the Covid 19 pandemic

Biddy Casselden*, Emma Paxton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The year 2020 saw the COVID-19 pandemic have a dramatic impact on life across the globe with all institutions having to react to changing circumstances. Public libraries were not exempt from this and found themselves needing to reconsider how they provided services during this time. A growing body of literature suggests that previous behaviour patterns were interrupted during the pandemic, with changes seen in the use of public library resources, and particularly greater use of digital. Although the publishing industry indicates an increase in audiobook use, there is limited research focussed specifically on library settings. This article investigates the provision and promotion of audiobooks in public libraries in England and Wales during the pandemic with a view to understanding both the changes seen in this area and to identify any learnings from this time that can be of benefit to public libraries in the future. A mixed methods research approach explored the views of public librarians on a variety of topics associated with audiobook usage, as well as investigating the impact and style of promotion activities on social media. Some surprising findings arose, including how limitations related to social media promotion of audiobooks were indicative of wider issues, and how questions around the future of audiobooks can shed light on what may be needed in the public library of tomorrow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Librarianship and Information Science
Early online date29 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2024

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