or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Reference Question of the Week – 12/7/14

   December 13th, 2014

yogaheadphonesThis one took me by surprise.

A patron called in and ask if she could request some books. No problem. And usually when a patron tells me right off that they'll be requesting multiple books, I'll grab a pencil and paper to write titles down and look for after we hang up. If they're requesting just a few items, I'll type them in and request them as we go, but when there are a bunch of titles there's no need to make the patron wait while I do them all one at a time.

So this patron gives me her list of items, which are all yoga books with titles like Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual. After about six titles, she gives me the punchline:

Okay, that's all. And I'd like all those as audiobooks.

A yoga practice manual on audiobook? I'm not familiar with this book, but it sounds like it would be mostly photos of poses, which doesn't seem like it would work at all in audio.

So I conveyed my uninformed skepticism to the patron, and she was in complete disagreement. She was as uninformed as I about the actual existence of these audiobooks, but she was far more confident that they should exist.

Which they might, and I said I'd look for them on audio and request them if I could find them. I checked our catalog, the rest of the state, WorldCat, and Amazon, but unfortunately didn't find any of them with an audio version.

At least, so far - this is one of those questions where I'll end up keeping that piece of scrap paper for years and periodically checking and rechecking various sources to try to locate the item. We'll see, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

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7 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 12/7/14”

  1. Macee Damon Says:

    There are some yoga instructors whose cueing is so precise that you could, with some basic yoga knowledge, practice to them on audio with no problem — Rodney Yee comes to mind. Some others, it would be a problem without seeing their actions at the same time.

    If she wanted audiobooks on CD, she could possibly have checked out DVDs and just listened to the audio part, or if digital files, there are downloadable audio sequences on the Web (though these are often meditation or relaxation sequences).

  2. Karen Says:

    One idea would be to look on iTunes in just the “music” or audio library for yoga instruction. There are both albums and podcasts available for download. They might not be the exact titles she’s looking for, but at least they would be specifically created with detailed verbal instructions.
    This was a great question of the week!

  3. Lisa Says:

    My favorite one along those lines was the volunteer for one of our homebound patrons who requested a recently published book on quilt patterns as an audio.

  4. Denise Says:

    There are many guided meditations for yoga from Sounds True publishers that could be considered audiobooks, as they are spoken word and on multiple CDs.

  5. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Macee, @Karen, & @Denise: thank you for the suggestions. I know we have meditation CDs and some other DVDs as well, but since the patron had a specific list I’m not sure if she’d be open to alternatives. Since I’m striking out with the audiobooks though, I will definitely suggest them to her.

    @Lisa: I know, right? I think the idea of a yoga workbook on audio just threw me so I became focused on that instead of doing a thorough reference interview. Audio quilt patterns probably would have had the same effect.

  6. Matthew Says:

    We in the academic library world also encounter a general lack of understanding of just which books are likely to be in audio format. Textbooks, not so much. Local authors? Same deal. Most people aren’t aware of the time and expense necessary to create an audio book, let alone a good one.

  7. Julia Says:

    David Swenson’s book is available as a CD from http://www.ashtanga.com – have a look for “First Series CD”. He also has practice cards and a poster if she does need visual cues still.
    Taking a stab in the dark, some of the other titles you’re after might also be available there. Otherwise have a look in the Teachers section as audio versions could be available on the authors’ websites.
    Ashtanga is a set sequence, so onc she knows the posture names, your patron could be just fine with the audio only (and it saves having to remember the entire sequence so you can just go with the flow).