SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 21, 2012

Choosing 'A Christmas Carol' from North of Boston Library Exchange

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — If you plan to read Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” this holiday season, you might enjoy a visit to the North of Boston Library Exchange website.

In addition to listings of print editions and movie versions at member libraries, library cardholders can download the classic tale in audiobook form from NOBLE’s OverDrive collection.

Or visitors can flip through Arthur Rackham’s illustrations, both black and white and color, in an old edition published by J.B. Lippincott Co., which has been reproduced in its entirety at Internet Archive.

E-book editions are available from Manybooks.net in several formats, and there is even a link to a New York Times article that allows visitors to examine Dickens’ corrections in his handwritten manuscript.

All these options were brought together by Elizabeth Thompson, a member service manager at NOBLE.

“It’s a way to look at the whole spectrum of what’s happening in books, through one very popular title,” she said.

Thompson said there are formats that can be downloaded at Manybooks which allow a reader to choose fonts and add their own illustrations, creating unique editions of “A Christmas Carol.”

Thompson is one of 12 staffers at NOBLE, counting full- and part-time employees, who support 28 member libraries, said Executive Director Ron Gagnon.

“We operate the computer system here, provide our libraries training on the system,” he said. “The libraries provide input on the way the system should grow and be designed and put up.”

But in addition to these services, staff members like Thompson will occasionally also post content like “A Christmas Carol” at the NOBLE website.

More typically she posts things on Facebook “because it’s easier and faster,” and the libraries can cross-post it.