The Indianapolis Public Library is launching a collection of pre-loaded audiobook devices known as Playaways in January 2024. This initiative will boost literacy, help bridge the digital divide, and enhance technology access for patrons.
Playaway devices are small enough to fit in the palm of a patron's hand yet durable enough for extensive circulation. Audiobooks are pre-loaded onto each device and no internet or Wi-Fi is needed to listen to them. This will help The Library get audiobooks into the hands of patrons who may not have smartphones, computers, CD players, or Kindle devices to play audiobooks at home. They can also aid patrons interested in reducing screen time.
“Engaging with literature using audiobooks can help patrons improve reading fluency, vocabulary, critical thinking, comprehension, and motivation,” said Jennifer Hendzlik, manager of acquisitions & collection development at The Indianapolis Public Library. “A big draw for Playaway devices is for workers, possibly in a factory setting, who cannot bring their phones out on the floor but can listen to a Playaway. In my experience, this is also very popular with the on-the-go community because it allows easy multitasking.”
The Playaway collection will include over 700 titles for adults and teens. Playaway titles will be available for in-person browsing at Beech Grove, Fort Ben, Garfield Park, Haughville, Lawrence, and Southport and titles can be sent to all branch locations. Browse the Playaway collection online.