MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown Public Library System has rolled out a free new service called Dial-A-Story that gives the public access to audiobooks read by its librarians.
The toll-free number is (304)-826-BOOK (2665), and right now, there are seven Halloween-themed stories, poems, and jokes available through Nov. 1. Sarah Palfrey, director of the library system, said their goal is to start small and expand to offering a wider selection of books. She said offering a dial-in service is important in West Virginia because more people have access to calling services than the internet, which will be a way for them to keep connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keeping people connected is always a goal of any program or service that we offer. And making sure that we offer things that do not require internet is — it gets harder and harder all the time, so we’re very conscious of it. We’re always looking to add services, and sometimes that means going back to something that maybe had gone away. Dial-A-Story services used to be pretty common in a lot of libraries, and we had one here years ago. It just seems like a good time to bring it back. I know I’m burned out on screens. My kids are burned out on screens. Anything we can do to reach people or to have people feel like they are part of something that doesn’t involve doesn’t rely on the internet is important to us right now.Sarah Palfrey
Palfrey said the initial public reaction has been “fantastic.” In the last 24 hours alone, they have reached more than 30,000 people through the library system’s Facebook page.
Paulfrey said she and the rest of her team are surprised by the public’s excitement.
“We thought it would be popular, but we are kind of blown away by how many people shared it and are so excited to try it out and have had a lot of great feedback so far,” Palfrey said.
Palfrey said she would like to see the service grow and continue indefinitely by adding some chapter books, allowing for a longer listening experience. She said the service has room for 100 different titles, and they are hoping to take advantage of that.
She also said she would like to invite guest readers to read stories and offer stories in different languages.
“We really hope to offer stories in multiple languages as well, which is not something that we’ve been able to do for in-person programming, and this is a great way to get started on that front,” Palfrey said.
How it works: call 304-826-BOOK (2665) to reach the Dial-A-Story Menu. What you can choose to hear in the Halloween Dial-a-Story Edition (available till November 1st) is as followed:
- Dial 1–We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt (Children’s Story)
- Dial 2–The Night Before Halloween (Children’s Story)
- Dial 3–Whooo’s There? (Children’s Story)
- Dial 4–Big Pumpkin (Children’s Story)
- Dial 5–Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins (Children’s Story)
- Dial 6–A spooky poem (All Ages)
- Dial 7–Fun Jokes (All Ages)