During this quarantine, I have discovered a new appreciation for human voices. According to The New York Times, cellphone companies like Verizon and AT&T have reported that the number of phone calls last month went up by 30% or more, as so much of the country is sheltering in place.
I was very much a part of that, calling relatives and friends and talking for much longer than usual — using my cellphone as an actual phone far more than I have in a long time.
It also served as my radio of sorts, as podcasts became the soundtrack of my days. I’ve particularly appreciated the ones with multiple hosts and/or guests because they felt like conversations, and I have very much missed hearing all the conversations that make up the background noise at work and when out and about.
Like many people, I have also been checking out downloadable audiobooks from the library.
Speaking of downloadable audiobooks, SYNC, which offers several weeks of free audiobooks for teens each summer, recently kicked off its 11th year of summer programming for teens.
Through the SYNC audiobook program, teens can access two free titles each week for 13 weeks. Each week’s books are thematically paired, and the 26 free titles include recent books and classics, fiction, nonfiction, short story collections, essays and plays.
A big change to this year’s program is that the downloads are only available through Sora, the student reading app from OverDrive, which is available in the Apple App and Google Play stores.
Although you need the Sora app to take advantage of the SYNC program, the good news is that affiliation with a school is not required to use the SYNC program.
Once you’ve registered for the program and set up Sora, you borrow the week’s titles and they will stay on your shelf in the app indefinitely, available to download and access whenever you want.
Tip: If you already use Sora, you just need to add “audiobooksync” as a library to enjoy the SYNC program.
Other important nitty-gritty details to remember: Each week’s access begins at 9 p.m. Pacific time Wednesdays and ends at 8:59 p.m. the following Wednesday.
If you miss a week’s titles, SYNC will not make them available again, per agreements with publishers, but you can always check to see if we have a specific title available in the Yakima Valley Libraries digital collection (or request that we add it, if we don’t).
For full details on how to get in on the fun, visit our Teen Resources page (www.yvl.org/teens/teen-resources) and look for the SYNC Teen Audiobook link.
• Julie Graham is assistant collection development librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. Learn more at www.yvl.org.
Summer 2020 SYNC titles
“Picture Us in the Light” by Kelly Loy Gilbert
“Secret Soldiers” by Paul B. Janeczko
“Faust” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Stalking Jack the Ripper” by Kerri Maniscalco
“Sisters Matsumoto” by Philip Kan Gotanda
“Disappeared” by Francisco X. Stork
May 28-June 3
“In Search of Us” by Ava Dellaira
“Serpent & Dove” by Shelby Mahurin
“Like No Other” by Una LaMarche
“Into White” by Randi Pink
“Easy Prey” by Catherine Lo
“Mark of the Raven” (“The Ravenwood Saga”) by Morgan L. Busse
“The Music of What Happens” by Bill Konigsberg
“The Bronte Plot” by Katherine Reay
June 25-July 1
“The Silence Between Us” by Alison Gervais
“Mexican Whiteboy” by Matt de la Pena
“Fresh Ink,” edited by Lamar Giles
“Hope Nation,” edited by Rose Brock
“Alison Larkin Presents: A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, freely adapted by Alison Larkin
“Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare
“Fake” by Eric Simonson
“New York 2140” by Kim Stanley Robinson
“Kindred” by Octavia E. Butler
“Burn Baby Burn” by Meg Medina