How LibriVox Works

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Volunteering, not just reading

LibriVox is entirely run by volunteers. The majority of them read and record texts in the public domain, and make them available in audio format, also in the public domain. That said, there are many other tasks that need to be carried out. Among these are:

  • Proof-listening (checking completed recordings for mistakes like long pauses, repeated sentences, etc)
  • Editing (most volunteers edit their own recordings but some help is always appreciated)
  • Promoting (adding LibriVox links to relevant entries in Wikipedia, creating posters, etc). See Promotional Material.
  • Bit-torrenting (creating files for torrents). See BitTorrent
  • Organising (coordinating collaborative recordings, uploading completed recordings to the catalogue, moderating the forum, etc)
  • Helping volunteers (welcoming at the forum, explaining, directing, creating and updating wikis)
  • Numerous other tasks (some ongoing, others quick one-offs, or longer projects)

For a more detailed explanation in the ways you can volunteer, see How To Volunteer

(If you're new to recording and are looking for a place to start, try this Newbie Guide to Recording).

Since most volunteers are involved with reading and recording for LibriVox, we'll look into that process first.

The LibriVox recording process

(See below for an explanation of the different roles)

Usually, the process works like this:

  1. A book or shorter work is suggested in the Book Suggestions forum. From there, two things can happen:
    1. It is taken up as a solo project
    2. It is made into a collaborative group project, with several readers reading parts of the text. In this case, someone volunteers to become a Book Coordinator.
  2. Once someone agrees to read the book,
    1. The soloist or Book Coordinator posts it as a Solo or Group Project in the New Projects Launch Pad. A Meta-Coordinator (MC) claims the project, sets it up in the database, and moves the thread to the appropriate forum.
    2. If it's a solo project, it moves to Going Solo, where the reader occasionally posts progress reports and receives encouragement from wannabe listeners, until the reading is completed.
    3. If it's a group project, it moves to Readers Wanted: Books (or Short Works or Dramatic Works). The Book Coordinator liaises with volunteer readers, who 'claim' parts of the work and post the completed readings in the thread. Once all chapters have been claimed, the project is moved to the Readers Found forum.
    4. At any point in the process, a Dedicated Proof Listener (DPL) may volunteer to proof-listen the work.
    5. Proof-Listeners listen to the files for mistakes, long pauses, stumbles, etc, and post feedback in the thread.
    6. If applicable, the reader fixes his recording and uploads the corrected version.
  3. When the recordings are done,
    1. The Solo reader or Book Coordinator notifies the Meta-Coordinator
    2. The recordings are posted on and on the LibriVox catalogue, where they are available to listeners.

The roles involved in making a LibriVox recording

To make the core work at LibriVox - creating recordings - possible, some team work is needed.


Anyone can read for LibriVox. No prior experience is necessary. We have a continuous stream of 'newbies' join us, many of whom have never recorded their voice before. We have readers from many countries, and with many native languages. Most record in English, but we have projects in other languages, too. We don't mind accents, so everyone may read in whichever language they feel comfortable. Readers need a computer, a cheap microphone (mics or headsets for around US$30.00 are good enough) and recording software, which is available as a free download. Other than that, just some time and enthusiasm.

Readers can record a text on their own (as a solo project) or join one of the group (collaborative) projects.


Most readers edit their own recordings, but some detest the task so much that they prefer to 'outsource' ;-) it. Several volunteers on the forum are keen editors and help is always found in the Listeners and Editors Wanted forum.


Proof-Listeners check completed files for long pauses, repeated sentences etc. The files are listed in the Listeners and Editors forum (link to forum) and feedback is posted there, too.

A volunteer may commit to listening to all the files for a certain project, thus becoming the Dedicated Proof-Listener.

Book Coordinator

Often shortened to BC, this title is slightly misleading, as not all projects that are undertaken collaboratively are books. Book Coordinators also coordinate collections of poems and other short works. Basically, a Book Coordinator manages other volunteers who contribute to a collaborative recording, and collects and prepares files for the Meta Coordinators. See How to Become a Book Coordinator.