LibriVox Needs Your Help

Posted on July 3, 2013 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News | Comments: Comments Off

Dear LibriVox Friends,

LibriVox needs your help. We have just launched a new funding drive, and if you’d like to donate without hearing all the rest you can do so here:

Donate to LibriVox.

For those who need more convincing…

LibriVox History

LibriVox was started in August 2005 by a ragtag bunch of book lovers who’d never met each other, who thought it might be fun to make audio versions of public domain books and give them away for free on the Internet. By October of 2005 we shocked ourselves by producing eight (8!) books, and had twenty more on the go, and some 200 volunteers signed up to help us out.

Sometime around then, we then formalized our mission:

“To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the Internet.”

… and we got to work figuring out how to help more people make free public domain audiobooks.

7,000 Audiobooks, 100 Million Downloads

Since then, some 40,000 souls have registered on our volunteer forum, and we’ve gone on to publish almost 7,000 free public domain audiobooks, in 29 different languages. Our books have been downloaded well over 100 million times (last time we took stock of download numbers was more than a year ago!). Some of our most popular titles have more than a million downloads.

We continue to work towards our goal of recording every public domain audiobook, with almost no budget at all, with day-to-day LibriVox activities — recording and making available public domain audiobooks — continuing to run with no paid staff, but instead powered by thousands of dedicated volunteers.

LibriVox: an Oasis of Bookishness on the Internet

LibriVox has always been a kind of oasis on the Internet.

We have the most polite and friendly Internet Forum most people have ever visited.

We don’t have a foundation, or professional fundraisers, or staff toiling away somewhere. We don’t have offices, we don’t have lobbyists. We’ve been taken under the wing of the Internet Archive (for legal and financial reasons), but we operate completely independently, and we like it that way.

What we like doing is making audiobooks of public domain books, and giving them away for free to anyone who wants them.

And we ask that you consider helping out so that we can focus on that — and not on raising money!

Our First Appeal for Help, Two Years Ago

Two years ago, LibriVox servers were hacked, which resulted in much pain and suffering as we took stock of our systems, and tried to close up security holes, and keep making audiobooks. We took a close look at the mishmash of software — much of it built by LibriVox volunteers — that keeps LibriVox running. It became clear that we needed to do a full revamp of our creaking software infrastructure, and that we would need more than volunteers to do this work. And further, we had to move to new, beefier servers — which we had to pay for.

We appealed to the LibriVox community to raise some money, and were successful – this money went mostly towards paying for servers (which ended up being more expensive than expected).

The good news is that LibriVox infrastructure is now hosted on Internet Archive — for free. So we no longer have direct server costs. (Though we do need to keep a system administrator on retainer to keep the systems running as smoothly as we can).

Mellon Foundation Grant, A Year Ago

Last year we applied for, and got, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to support a full rebuild of the LibriVox infrastructure, which will be unveiled very soon.

We Need Your Help Again

But now we need your help again.

Our technical infrastructure work was very big in scope. We have rebuilt all the software that runs our project management systems, our cataloging system, and our book uploading systems; in addition, we’ve done a complete redesign & implementation of our website. All this will be revealed to the public shortly… but there is more work to do.

We’d like your help to raise money to support the following things:
* technical infrastructure additions that were outside the scope of what we could achieve with the Mellon grant
* ongoing system administration costs
* ongoing development support and improvements on our new software systems
* ensuring the LibriVox site is properly internationalized
* to make sure that volunteers don’t need to pay out of pocket for big-ticket items that need paying for

Our 8-year anniversary is coming up, on August 10, 2013.

Our target is to raise $50,000 by then. Can you help?

Beyond August 10, we will continue to have a donation page on LibriVox (something we have never had before)… which we hope will bring in a modest amount of donations, enough to cover our ongoing costs.

This is made easier if we have a cushion in the bank so that LibriVox volunteers don’t have to stay up at night worrying about how this or that will be paid for.

Can You Help?

So, what do you say?

Whether you’ve listened to one LibriVox book, or many, a small donation will go a long way to helping us reach our goal. That has always been the spirit of LibriVox: if many contribute a little, we can build something big. (Of course, larger donations will also be received with enthusiasm if you have the means).

And, even if you’ve never listened to a LibriVox book, but you believe in making books accessible to the whole world, and you’d like to support our work … well, we couldn’t be more grateful to you.

Please visit our Donate Page, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested — by Email, Twitter or Facebook.

And while you are at it, maybe you’d like to help us make some more public domain audiobooks? Join us … It’s fun!

Oh, and if you haven’t yet… maybe you’d like to…

Donate to LibriVox.

Thank you!

Hugh McGuire
Founder, LibriVox


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