Library on the road has closed

Ann Arbor Library - Pittsfield Branch
Image by jhoweaa via Flickr

I didn’t have time to stop at the public library before setting off on a journey to Missouri, 550 miles away. “That’s okay,” I thought, “I’ll take my truck-drivers’ library card and pick up some books-on-CD along the way.”  I’ve been a lifetime member of AudioAdventures since 1999, when I made monthly trips from Duluth to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Back then, I knew all the truck stops that stocked the books.

I loved the format: check the book out in one location, turn it in at any of the others. It wasn’t free – but after I accumulated points, the membership was free, and the books were up-to-date. I was introduced to Brother Cadfael, Jim Qwilleran, and a host of other characters through the collection, and read a lot of nonfiction that I would otherwise have passed by.

When I didn’t find an AudioAdventures outlet in the first two truckstops, I was puzzled; I did an online search. Sad news: they went out of business, referring me instead to a recorded books service that delivers to my door.  No more finding a new author or a new book in some out-of-the-way corner of the country.

The website says they closed after 20 years of service; I was there for 11 of them.  I am sad every time I see a genuine browsing opportunity – the chance to come across a book simply because it’s in a rack or next to something else – disappear.  I would never have gone in search of detective stories featuring a Native American law officer from the Four Corners region – but I was certainly glad to find Sgt. Jim Chee and Lieutenant Leaphorn and the rest of Tony Hillerman’s characters.

A belated farewell, AudioAdventures – and a reminder to myself to cherish and support those remaining browsing locations where they exist.

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4 comments

  1. While I did not always use the on rode library system, I have enjoyed listening to them when I found them. Personally I have gone high tech and use my mp3 player to listen to books. The system I use the most is the local library link to Overdrive media. I have found both new authors and old classics. One advantage to the MP3 is the lack of a need to switch CDs while driving/ having to pull over to do so safely.

  2. What a wonderful idea. I’ve been downloading books from audible.com for those long rides, but I’ve heard that our public library can get practically anything for you — if you know what you want. Unfortunately, that eliminates the browsing.

    • Here in Duluth, the Public Library has a lot of books on tape (cassette) and books on CD – and they are in open stacks, so I can browse. The AudioAdventures selection was a bit different – they knew people would be driving and listening, so even their non-fiction offerings were lively.

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