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Last updated 1:47AM ET
November 19, 2017
US
US
WOUB's Wired For Books Web site celebrates 10 years
(2007-06-12)
(WOUB) - "Wired for Books" (www.wiredforbooks.org), a WOUB Center for Public Media Web site, celebrated 10 years on June 1 with a reception held at the Baker University Center in Athens. Present were "Wired for Books" volunteers, WOUB staff and students, and some of the original voices including Karen Chan, Peter Heidtmann, Laura Parrotti, and Edgar Whan.

"Wired for Books" features streaming audio and video presentations of lectures, book and poetry readings, and children's stories. The site includes a wide range of content for children and adults, and has more than 1,400 Web pages and over 1,000 audio and video files. The site's most popular readings are dramatic radio presentations. Included is a wide range of content for children and adults, including Beatrix Potter, Emily Dickinson, and Edgar Allan Poe. "Wired for Books" receives more than one million visitors annually and continues to grow in popularity. Alexa.com, a Web site owned by Amazon.com, publishes the rank of the leading Web sites around the world, determined by the amount of traffic the site receives. "Wired for Books" ranks number six among to the leading PBS sites.

The site was launched in 1997 with a $2,000 grant from the Ohio Humanities Council. Kurz says that it has been a large project, but very worthwhile. "It's great to get feedback from teachers and others from around the world saying that they use the site in their classrooms or for their own entertainment. It definitely makes all the work that is put into it worth it," says Kurz.

Numerous volunteers perform the content of the site. Many of the volunteers are involved in local theater, but others have had notable professional experience including Ohio University alumnus and former CBS Radio personality Don Swaim. Swaim has interviewed many famous authors such as Toni Morrison, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, and others whose interviews can be found in their entirety on the site. Several OU faculty members have played a notable role in the success of "Wired for Books" over the years by providing their voices and talents." We wouldn't be able to do the site without all the great people who donate their time and talents," added Kurz. "Volunteers have made the site possible."

The site has won numerous awards in the past 10 years. The Ohio Public Broadcasting Awards honored the site in March 2007 with the Public Information Award for Program/Project Web site, and Program of the Year. It has also been cataloged by the Library of Congress, selected by The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as one of the best online resources for education, and awarded the RealNetworks Streamers Award in 1999 for the best educational use of streaming media. "Wired for Books" was also selected as the "Best of the Web" by the New York Public Library and Google has ranked the site in 84 top-level categories. The site has also been noted by The New York Public Library as "Best of the Web," Given an "A+" by Education World magazine and named "Critics Choice" by The Guardian, a magazine based in London, England.

The Web site was created and produced by David Kurz, senior web developer. Wired for Books can be found at www.wiredforbooks.org. For more information, contact david_kurz@woub.pbs.org.
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