Earlier this year, I went on a long road trip with my friend, Jill, and I thought I would bring along some audiobooks. I borrowed three on CD and two on cassette, and I ended up with two grocery bags full of audiobooks to keep up with! When I picked her up, said she brought ten audiobooks of her own because she could not choose. “No way. Where will we have room for ten audiobooks, Jill?” I asked, pointing to the grocery bags of CD and cassette boxes. Then, Jill held up her mp3 player, smaller than a deck of cards. Man, I knew I should have checked out this downloadable audiobook thing!

Top Ten Reasons To Use Digital Audio books

  1. No one has ever lost one under the seat of their car.
  2. Put a dozen books on your mp3 player.
  3. You can’t remember what track you’re on in your book on CD.
  4. Learn how to pronounce names from the Harry Potter series.
  5. Digital Bookmarks are hard to misplace.
  6. They take themselves back to the library.
  7. Your cat likes stories, too.
  8. Kind of like radio, without traffic and weather.
  9. Large Print was checked out.
  10. The library will not call looking for missing tape number five.
Digital Audiobooks Activity:1. Find your library’s Overdrive collection:

2. Checkout and download a digital audio book from Overdrive.*

3. Tell us how it went in the Audio Books forum.

Do you have any questions?

Discuss them in the Digital Audiobooks Forum.

*If you’ve really tried, but you’re unable to complete the exercise due to restrictions on your library computers, you can still get credit for this exercise. The summer is hot enough. We don’t want to make you sweat.


It’s week five of Tenn-Share Learn & Discover. Have you finished the first four activities? It’s your lucky week – catch-up week, that is! Whew!

Tennessee At Your Fingertips!

Nashville – Music City USA – home to the Grand Ole Opry and countless musicians in and out of Country – but how many Nashvillians go out to see live music? How many Chattanoogans really See Rock City? How many Memphians waddle around with the Peabody ducks or hold vigil at Graceland? Tennessee has such a rich history, but do we ever get to explore it enough?

In this week’s Tenn-Share Learn and Discover exercises, you will explore Tennessee resources, historic and current, that are only as far away as the click of a mouse.

News to You: Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) and Google News

If you’re trying to gauge Tennesseans’ reactions to newsworthy library issues and events, you  have several easy-to-use tools at your disposal.

TEL: Tennessee Electronic Library is a collection of databases available to all Tennesseans. It includes thousands of magazines and newspapers, test prep resources, and more.

Through TEL, you have access to the Tennessee Newspaper collection, which includes the current and archived editions of the state’s four largest newspapers; some back to 1990!

Google News offers access to a wider variety of up-to-the-minute sources. TEL might not show you the latest info on today’s biggest news story – it’s too new. But, a Google News search will. Google News also provides a simple way to limit your searches to Tennessee news sources. Include “location:tn” in your Google News search and you can get up-to-the-minute local news too. For example, “location:tn library” will bring back breaking newspaper, television, and wire news on libraries in Tennessee. You can even set up a News Alert to update you when new stories about Tennessee show up online. Remember those RSS feeds?

Have some questions? We’ve got answers:

How is the TN Newspaper collection different from Google News?

The TEL newspaper collection includes obituaries and editorial content which is often missing from other news searches like Google/Yahoo! News. So, TEL can help you discover the Tennessee perspective on national issues, like the Iraq War or the gas crisis. Remember that Tennessee newspapers in TEL can go back to 1990, so you’ll also find information on older topics that would be buried in Google News.

Why is TEL’s Tennessee Newspaper Collection better than the papers’ own websites?

Archived copies are FREE to view. Newspaper sites charge for back issue articles.

Wait! What if I am at home and want to check it out all of this cool content?

All TEL resources are accessible from your home! You will need a password. If  you don’t already know the password, call your local library.

Tennessee History & Primary Sources

Whether you are a history buff, a student with a history project, or a genealogist, the explosion of historic information on the internet through libraries, museums, and enthusiasts is bound to amaze – and maybe even overwhelm – you. If you freeze like a deer in headlights whenever a student asks you for a primary source, these resources will help!

Volunteer Voices is a grassroots effort to build a digital collection of Tennessee history from each and every one of our counties. Libraries, museums, historical societies, and individuals are working to create this online collection of primary source material.*

In Volunteer Voices, you’ll find resources that significantly relate to the K-12 Tennessee social studies curriculum and other related subjects. You’ll also find links to digital collections across the state. The photographs, letters, and other documents are being used by teachers to develop lesson plans and by students to incorporate primary sources in their research. But it has equal value for the curious who want to have a look at Colonel Tennessee, “the rustic older gentleman often used to represent Tennessee.” Really. He’s in there.

Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA) is an online collection of historical records, photographs, landmark documents, maps, and postcards from the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ collections. These well-cataloged collections are complemented by TSLA’s online exhibits and massive photo database.

Tennesseans have a unique opportunity to share their personal histories through the Nashville Public Library’s StoryCorps installation. Make an appointment to interview your loved one – and have that interview archived at the Library of Congress and perhaps broadcast on NPR.

Whew! Lot’s of stuff!

Tennessee Stuff Activity:
Three excellent sources means a three-part activity. It may seem like a lot, but these are great sources. Have fun!
1. Tennessee Electronic Library: Find an article.

Local agriculture is a hot topic in the national news this year. Use TEL’s Tennessee Newspapers to find an article discussing local agriculture (Farmer’s Markets, CSA’s, “Buy Local” campaigns) in your area.

2. Volunteer Voices: Find a primary source.

Browse the collection and find primary sources that illustrate how Tennesseans participated in the Civil Rights Movement.

3. TeVA: Find the photo.

Dr. Mustard, in the school house, with the toothbrush. Seriously, find the photo!

Do you have any questions?
Get help in the Tennessee Stuff Forum.

*Participate in Volunteer Voices: If your library has an image, document, recording, or whole collection you know should be digitized, but you don’t know where to start, contact the Volunteer Voices director Tiffani Conner and let her help you share the stories your collections tell.

Contributed by Sue (TEL Girl), Tricia, and James Staub

I saw my friend William last Saturday. He was carrying eight newspapers! I stopped and asked, “William, what’s with all the newspapers?”

He said, “Well, I like reading the comic strips Pearls Before Swine and Dilbert, but they’re not in the same newspaper. Then, there’s this columnist I like in the New York Times and a sports writer in the Washington Post who’s great. I gotta run. If I don’t get home soon, I’ll miss Daniel Schorr’s radio commentary!”

“Whoa! Why aren’t you getting this stuff in your feed reader?”

“My what?”

“RSS feeds. RSS puts all your news in one spot! You just sign up for an RSS feed reader online, then read all your favorite comics and journalists in one place. You can also use RSS to read blogs, news, and even hear that radio story you’re about to miss.”

“All with an RSS feed reader? Can you show me how it works?”

RSS Feeds
RSS broadcasts web pages over the Internet much like a radio station broadcasts programming over airwaves. An RSS feed reader (aka aggregator) “tunes in” to the websites that you tell it to “listen” to and collects new items into your reader as they appear. You can get news, blog posts, comics, music, personal updates, or even this learning activity. Web sites now offer a variety of content in RSS format. Anywhere you see one of these little buttons, you can click on one to activate the feed.

rss image rss image rss image rss image rss image

There are many different feed readers to choose from, but most are free web applications, so you will not have pay or download to take advantage of RSS.

Commoncraft – RSS In Plain English

Podcasts are RSS feeds, too!
William is also a big listener of National Public Radio and other radio programs. I was telling him about this fascinating story on gorillas that aired the other night.

“I was so busy catching up on all my newspapers that I missed it.”

“Don’t worry, RSS can help you keep up with radio shows too. You can still hear the gorilla story as a podcast!”

NPR also delivers most of their stories as podcasts, so you’ll be able to catch up on the latest programs whenever you want. You can find older stories too. Maybe you like tuning into Mike & Mike (ESPN), Dave Ramsey, Dianne Rehm, or This American Life? You can get a podcast of just about anything on NPR and a variety of shows from local radio all over the country. There are thousands of podcasts from amateur and community radio DJs. Maybe you would like the Jamaican Reggae music hour or the guy who plays a Grateful Dead concert tape every week?

It is not just music and radio. Television programs are podcasting too, in both video and audio. You can catch up on Good Morning America (ABC), Frontline (PBS), or The Colbert Report (Comedy) with podcasts. Many programs are offering season subscriptions for a fee, but most podcasts are free to download. Hobbyists love to share tips on gardening, knitting, or even fly fishing with podcasts.

A podcast could be anything from a thirty second cell phone update to an hour-long concert. Podcasts are sort of like an audio archive, delivering the newest episodes and storing the older stories for later. Instead of tuning in at a specific time on your radio, you can hear the recording whenever you want, on your computer.

Four ways to hear podcasts:

Browser: Visit the podcast’s web site and play the files from there, just as you would any other sound file.

RSS Reader: Subscribe using an online RSS reader like Bloglines or Google Reader. Podcasts will show up along with your blogs.

Podcatcher: Use a podcatcher, like iTunes or Juice, to organize and play podcasts for you.

mp3 player: Take podcasts on the go with your portable mp3 player. Listen to your favorite programs while you are out walking, waiting for the bus, or anywhere.

RSS & Podcasting Activity:1. Sign up for a feed reader (Google Reader and Bloglines are two nice ones).

2. Subscribe to the RSS feed for the TennShare Learn & Discover blog.

3. Browse NPR’s list of podcasts. Sign up for a podcast (use iTunes or Google Reader).

Do you have any questions?

Discuss them in the RSS/Podcasts Forum.