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How LibriVox Works

Volunteering for LibriVox

LibriVox organizers say they don't want your money, at least not for now.

The Web site briefly ran an online fundraising campaign in February 2010 to generate $20,000 in support of its mounting computing costs. Donors came up with the required amount within weeks and LibriVox said it will not have to worry about money for another few years.


However, what the people who run LibriVox do want is the time and effort of volunteers. While the most obvious human resource might seem to be people to record themselves reading aloud, LibriVox needs literature fans to fill several other roles to complete a book project.

Here are a few of the other jobs that LibriVox volunteers perform:

  • Book coordinators: manage production of a particular book
  • Meta coordinators: catalog completed books on the Web
  • Moderators: maintain order on the LibriVox online forum
  • Admins: responsible for making sure other participants have what they need to do their jobs

Typically, getting a book into the LibriVox library is a team effort. To cut down on reader exhaustion and to finish books more quickly, more than one person is often assigned to read a book. A common arrangement is to split it up by chapters.

Since the readers are volunteers and not professional voice talent or audio software experts, the quality of the finished audio books varies. Some critics have found fault with this aspect of LibriVox, while others say the quirky variety makes the books interesting and lends them character.

To volunteer, just click on the "How to Volunteer" link on the LibriVox Web site and follow the written prompts. The first step is to register with the site. From there, a volunteer can find out virtually everything about the site and how to contribute to a project by participating in the online forum. The organizers of LibriVox have purposely given it a flat control structure, in an attempt to encourage participation.

For more information about LibriVox and other related topics, follow the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Farivar, Cyrus. "The Web Will Read You a Story." Wired. Dec. 16, 2005. (April 8, 2010)
  • Fernandez, Rebecca. "LibriVox gives books a voice in the public domain." Red Hat Magazine. March 2006. (April 10, 2010)
  • Jardin, Xeni. "Amateur Audio Books Catch Fire on the Web." NPR. Feb. 1, 2006. (April 10, 2010)
  • LibriVox. (April 8, 2010)
  • Project Gutenberg. (April 9, 2010)
  • Writing Show, The. "Interview with Hugh McGuire, Founder of LibriVox." Aug. 23, 2005. (April 9, 2010)