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Kitsap Regional Library to offer portable audio books

Starting this week, the Kitsap Regional Library is offering patrons a new way to listen to audio books — pre-loaded onto a portable listening device.

KRL spokeswoman Susan Rosapepe said the players are called Playaways. About the size of a deck of playing cards, each player has one book loaded and buttons for start, stop, rewind, fast forward and volume controls.

The only thing the patrons have to furnish are the headphones, Rosapepe said, but otherwise the process for checking out a Playaway will be the same as for a book or DVD.

“We are introducing them this week with ‘Cannery Row’ by John Steinbeck,” she said, explaining the Playaways should be available for checkout in all library branches.

Rosapepe said the system was launching the devices slowly because “we’re trying to obtain rechargeable batteries for them before we send them out.”

She said each player will have a fresh battery installed when it is returned, “so every time they go out, they will have a new battery.”

The Playaways are already being given to patrons who either cannot read or struggle to, and Rosapepe said they have been well-liked.

“Cannery Row” is now offered on Playaways and Rosapepe said about 200 more titles will be available on the devices.

“It is a small collection, but we hope to grow it,” she said, explaining patrons can find the devices in the audio book section of their branches.

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