Sounding off: Recording booth installed at PWPL

MARQUETTE — Right now it just looks like a sparsely furnished room, but a new recording booth at the Peter White Public Library is expected to enrich the community’s educational experiences.

In addition to the library’s recently completed renovation project, the booth has been installed on the second floor outside of what had been the Friends of Library Bookstore.

The booth was purchased with funds bequeathed by the Victoria Wolf Estate and the James Armstrong Memorial Fund to the Superiorland Library Cooperative’s Great Lakes Talking Books Advisory and Outreach Center.

The booth eventually will be available in the cooperative’s GLTB service area for use by people who want to record oral histories, podcasts or other audition presentations. In fact, it is believed to be the first audio recording booth available for public use in the Upper Peninsula.

Lynn Buckland-Brown, GLTB library reader adviser, said the booth still needs to be painted, plus there will be a table where the narrator will sit, as well as a microphone.

A moderator will listen too.

“We’re just in the process of researching what we need,” Buckland-Brown said, “but you’ve got to be able to communicate with the moderator on when they need to reread a sentence.”

Audiobooks can be recorded for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a free braille and talking books library service, she said.

According to the Library of Congress’ website at www.loc.gov/nls/, NLS circulates books and magazines in braille or audio formats and are delivered by postage-free mail or are instantly downloadable.

Local books can be created, she said.

“There is a need for them,” Buckland-Brown said.

Once policies and procedures are established, contact information will be available for scheduling the use of the booth.

GLTC seeks volunteer narrators for recording books and/or magazines about the U.P. and the northern Lower Peninsula. Auditions are scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. July 8. Anyone interested in auditioning may contact Buckland-Brown at 906-228-7697, extension 0, or email tb@uproc.lib.mi.us.

These audiobooks will be available on cartridge and/or to download for patrons of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

It’s not just words that can be recorded in the booth.

“We’ve got it big enough so people can record music in here,” said Buckland-Brown, who added there will be recording equipment as well as a laptop computer and software.

“The reason we bought it is we could not find a place to record in the U.P.,” Buckland-Brown said. “We ended up in a closet, in a quilt closet, in Prince of Peace Church, and it was still noisy. People are coming in and walking, and you can’t have any sound.

“So, this booth is really, really soundproof.”

It might not be that uncomfortable either as Buckland-Brown said the booth will contain fans to circulate air.

Jeremy Morelock, database maintenance and system administrator assistant at the PWPL, will use his expertise to help with the booth.

Morelock will be involved in audio engineering and recording as well as what he called the important part: the post-recording edits.

“They made read it, but there isn’t a pause enough between the paragraph or something,” Morelock said, “so that you have to go through this whole procedure of getting it ready to meet the standards of an audiobook.”

Morelock’s past previous experience includes working for the USC Shoah Foundation, The Institute for Visual History and Education. The foundation, based at the University of Southern California, preserves and maintains audiovisual testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocide experiences.

“It’s the world’s largest oral history archive,” Morelock said.

Buckland-Brown is happy to have him involved in the booth project.

“To have someone with his experience, we couldn’t have done it without him,” Buckland-Brown said.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.