It’s a record book! Marking our 15,000th audio title

Seventeen people gathered around a table, punching the air with happiness. Table has food and certificate on display.VisAbility has recorded its 15,000th audio book. We held an event to celebrate this achievement and to thank our volunteers who work in the Library.

At VisAbility, there are seven volunteers to every staff member and many assist with the production and creation of our audio books for people with a print disability.

Our Library Services is one of the largest digital libraries in the Southern Hemisphere, so why not investigate our digital book downloads (link opens in new window)?

Celebrating this chapter

Our 15,000th book was a dark thriller – Awakening by Sharon Bolton. It was read by one of our long-standing volunteers Lorelei St Roas with the assistance of Jan Angwin.

“I started volunteering in 1999 and now in retirement my husband has started volunteering as well. I read the books, and he records them in the studio,’’ explains Lorelei.

Lorelei is simling as she is presented a certificate for the 15,000 audio title
Executive Manager Kary Macliver presents Lorelei with her certificate

A few years ago, Lorelei moved to Busselton, but she still travels up every fortnight – that’s commitment for you.

“I’ve lost count of the books I’ve narrated over the years, because there’s been such a wide variety. Ones that spring to mind are the Muhammad Ali autobiography which details his life in and outside the ring. Another called Breaking Ships was fascinating detailing the mammoth task of dismantling large ships and the methods to recycle parts.’’

Audio books – lots to talk about

Lorelei is just one of the 321 volunteers we have at VisAbility.

Every month, on average, we send out 4,500 books to clients on cartridges. Approximately 600 books are downloaded from the VisAbility Talking Book Library website. 

We’ve been sending out audio books since 1985. Many of you will recognise the yellow postal containers. Within each container there’s a cartridge with five books that you can play on a DAISY Player.

DAISY stands for Digital Accessible Information System. It’s a worldwide standard for people who have a print disability. There is no cost for the download service.

Our unusual find

In 2016 we made an unusual find: the discovery of 40,000 digital cassettes, hidden away in a room at the VisAbility building. These are now being digitised. They will eventually join our collection.

VisAbility is part of a wider global initiative to give greater access to books to those who need them the most. Under the Marrakesh Treaty, we help an estimated 285 million people to have greater access to books published in accessible formats such as large print, Braille or audio.

Amazing facts about our audio books

  • On average 150 books go out through the post every day
  • We have one of the largest collection of books in the Southern Hemisphere
  • We try to respond to all requests to convert new titles into audio books
  • Our partnership with the State Library WA (link opens in new window) means we can share our catalogue of books to a wider audience.