Closely allied with champions of the Public Domain Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive, LibriVox is a web site with a very ambitious goal. They want to make all books in the Public Domain available for free download in audio format.
Since its inception in 2005 by Montreal writer and web developer Hugh McGuire, the project has published almost 7000 works into the Public Domain in audio format, some available in 29 different languages.
An army of thousands of book-loving volunteers read and record, proof the recordings, tag files, catalogue files into books and chapters, provide support in the community forums, oversee current recording projects, and more.
Lots of people use LibriVox recordings and over 100 million file downloads testifies to that. Whether you’re listening to their podcast while working out at the gym or commuting to work, or you’re a person living with reading difficulties like visual impairment or dyslexia, or you like catching up on your reading while doing the dishes or cleaning up around the house or working on your car, or just sunning on the beach with a good book on your iPod, hours upon hours of good reading are at your fingertips.
Asking for help
LibriVox doesn’t have much in the way of a budget, considering the scope of the projects they tackle, but there are costs associated with running a web site like this. Good, reliable, sizeable storage and pipelines are not free, or even cheap. The Internet Archive provides the servers and storage, but LibriVox does still have to retain a system administrator to keep things going. Much of the technological reworking has been paid for by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, but there are unanticipated costs that have to be covered.
Not being content to just make their current site bigger, LibriVox is also planning for the “next generation” of the site and project by streamlining and revamping not only their web site, but their entire process from start to finish to make it more efficient for the volunteers, users and administration.
In addition to the hardware and software updates, the LibriVox team has made great improvements for the site’s users in terms of internationalization and accessibility in the site’s new redesign, to be unveiled soon.
With ambitious projects come ambitious needs. In order to reinvent and support the new LibriVox, they want to raise $50,000, and they’re targeting August 10th (their 8th anniversary) as the date by which they’d like to raise that amount.
LibriVox is a favourite site with many of us here at GenXMedia, so please consider making a donation to this worthy cause.
Myself, I’ve volunteered as a reader. I’m just getting started, but I’ve found the people involved in LibriVox to be enthusiastic about what they do, patient with the newbies, and I’m really looking forward to doing a lot more with this worthy and ambitious project.