Donating the use of your vocal chords to record audio books can be a rewarding and beneficial experience. Two non profit organizations seeking vocal volunteers may be especially appealing to college students.
Of the two being looked at, Librivox is the most well known and the easiest to get started with. All recordings are done using your computer and on your schedule. You can participate whenever you are able.
You will have equal flexibility in choosing what to record. The project is seeking to record all works currently in the public domain. The vast majority of these works are taken from the Gutenberg project and are available as free digital downloads. Works on offer range from fiction to law books.
If you happen to be an English major, volunteering may be as simple as doing your required reading aloud. Many of the books needing voices are classical literature. Even if your requirement is only for a single chapter, Librivox welcomes these short recordings.
While most of the recordings done through Librivox are single readers, they will be glad to include group efforts in their archive. Performing arts students could easily organize to give everyone a part in the production of a classic play or to act out a novel – complete with sound effects.
Most college students will find this as a great way to quickly give back without leaving the campus, education majors may want to take a little more time – and a road trip. Future teachers may reap huge rewards by working with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. Unlike Librivox where the focus is solely on public domain works, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic focuses on making text books and other reading material available to students with these reading hurdles, including reading and visual impairment issues.
Prospective teachers can help this effort by recording directly, or annotating text books with notes to guide those who will make the actual recording. Either way, education majors will get a good lesson in textbook layout and the requirements of making learning material accessible to those with disabilities.
Due to the target audience and the importance of accuracy in the resulting recordings, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic needs volunteers to be physically present. The organization has offices and studios all over the country. Some offices specialize in specific subjects or have special requirements, but all welcome volunteers.
Regardless of which organization you choose to work with, your listeners are not the only ones who will benefit. The recording process will hone your speaking voice. Being able to reference your work will also be a nice bonus when referencing your charitable contributions in your online resume.
Librivox.org (Home of Libribox)
rfbd.org (Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic)