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Women in Headphones

Make a Noise in Libraries – the perfect time to give Audiobooks a go!

11 June 2018

MANIL fortnight

MANIL is an annual campaign which brings public libraries, blind and partially sighted people together to celebrate reading and highlight library services they may not be aware of. Running 4th to 17th June, this year’s theme is ‘changing minds, changing times’ - acknowledging that there is still work to do to ensure that libraries are supporting visually and print-impaired people as much as they can whilst celebrating how much has been achieved to make collections and services more accessible.

Libraries are encouraged to interpret the theme by holding activities and engaging with their communities, such as promoting their large print and audio book collections or facilitating accessible book groups.

The benefits of audio books

Audio books are a huge part of the MANIL campaign as they are an invaluable resource to blind and partially sighted people. Often cited by Calibre Audio Library members as a lifeline, audio books enable those with vision impairments to continue to experience the benefits of reading. Listening to books brings comfort and the narrators are good company, filling a room with their words and allowing the reader to ‘escape’ the everyday. The power of having such a pleasurable experience to look forward to should not be underestimated and can be the highlight of many members day.

"I felt Calibre had ‘saved my life’ when I first was on your mailing list; I had my favourite readers as well as authors and I really felt that I belonged to Calibre - which made me feel very much part of your wonderful organisation." Anne Decent, Devon

What is it like listening to audio books?

We sometimes get asked; what is it like listening to audio books? Our best answer is that it is very similar to ‘eye reading’! When you read you may ‘hear’ the words said aloud inside your head, only with audio books it’s someone else’s voice! This soon becomes completely immersive as you rediscover that feeling of being lost in a good book. Listening to someone else speak the narrative ignites the imagination in much the same way as reading print and you will soon find how quickly time flies as you are carried away by the words.

“Calibre has restored the, almost forgotten, joy of reading.  As television gets blurred and printed books become impossible, I now have access to this wonderful variety of subjects and authors from Rudyard Kipling to Joanna Trollope, and many others in between, all read with such skill and feeling that the characters in the books come to life and I feel greater understanding of the events portrayed.” Anne Barks, Cornwall

How to get started

Anyone who is visually impaired (or has another print disability) can join Calibre Audio Library. If you’re unsure about it at all – “Are audio books for me?” – then we are currently offering a FREE 3-month trial over the duration of MANIL fortnight. This will enable you to get set up on your listening devices, choose your books and create a routine of listening to audio books that will soon have you wondering how you managed without it!

“It's a marvelous service. I have read more books since I couldn't read to see print than I ever did before.” Calibre Member

Step by step of how to listen

1.       Join Calibre Audio Library or sign up to the free trial

2.       Choose your listening format(s): mp3-CD, memory stick, download or streaming

3.       If downloading, get the app on your phone and/or tablet

4.       Select your books: this can be either by title or genre

5.       Start listening!

If you have any questions at any point regarding your membership or how to use our library service please call our friendly team on 01296 432 339.

After your free trial is over you can join for a one-off fee of £35. This includes all your books and postage for as long as you wish to remain a member, there is nothing else to pay.

Calibre Audio Library

Calibre Audio Library is a national charity providing a subscription-free service of unabridged audio books for adults and children with sight problems, dyslexia or other disabilities, who cannot read print. You can find out more about us and sign up for your free trial at