In this final post we’ll take a look at a fun method of social outreach that has been around for a while but is growing in popularity in the library world: the podcast. Think your library doesn’t have what it takes to create a series of its own? Well, you’re wrong! All you need is the right equipment, one (but preferably two or more) brave soles to be the voice of your broadcast, and a few tips on how to launch.
Podcasts are audio files of themed episodes that subscribers can stream or download, usually free of charge. One popular theme seen used by libraries today is obviously book discussions. Just read a great book or acquired something for your collection that you think your patrons should hear about? Your show can focus on a conversation about the text – important themes, symbolism, fan theories (if there are any), and more. Want to make things interesting? Invite guests to be interviewed on your “show” who may be authorities on the subject matter you wish to discuss. For instance, if you’re talking about the book Game of Thrones, perhaps you could have local professors on the show to discuss whatever issues you might choose to focus on: the treatment of women in Medieval times, language creation in works of literature, cartography in fantasy works, etc! Be as silly or as serious as you want in the interviews, but have fun with the banter and develop a good rapport with other members of the show and your guests! Listeners will hear it in your tone.
Still unsure of how to make it work? See what these libraries are doing!
So, what do you need to get started? According to the creators of the “In the Stacks” podcast, here are the basics:
- A quiet room (sound-proof if available). Some people use quiet study rooms in the library!
- At least one microphone
- A digital recording device
Quality podcasts have music to add interest. This may be in the introduction to make it catchy, or during book passages, which Radio Westeros does quite effectively. Scared by the thought of having to create your own audio files? Don’t be! Music can be found free (or cheaply on sites such as MelodyLoops.
Podcasts can be edited on Mac devices or using online hosting services such as blubrry – a site that the In the Stacks crew uses. The benefit of such a site is that it allows you to check downloads to see how many people are listening to your broadcasts – and we all know how important statistics are to measuring the estimated effectiveness of our social media reach! Once you have it edited the way you want it and uploaded, be sure to upload the feed to iTunes to maximize the reach of availability.
Of course, be sure to market your goings on in other social media platforms and on your library’s webpage, which will not only draw attention to your podcast, but also give you the opportunity to attach visuals to the topic being discussed and add more information that may not have been covered in the conversation or interview.
Now go out there and create some audio magic! This is Bibliosaurus Rex signing off, It’s been fun!
Druda, E., Kretz, C., Muhr, C. (2017). Who’s Afraid of Podcasting? One Public Library’s Leap Into the Realm of Media Production. Long Island Library Conference Presentation.