You may notice these days that more people have earbuds dangling from their ears or have headphones on while walking down the street, working out, or when relaxing in a coffee shop or public library. Yes, people may simply be listening to their favorite Deftones song but others are diving deep into their favorite podcast. Podcasting is an effective way for many groups, organizations, and individuals to relay their message to thousands of listeners. Public libraries have jumped on this trend and are reaching out to their communities via this platform.
“Public libraries can—and many already do—use the podcast platform as an efficient and easy method to share news and information, promote programs and services, and distribute other important content to their patrons.” Podcasting offers a unique experience to patrons that traditional promotional methods do not. Program flyers and social networking have been working effectively for libraries for quite some time now; however, promoting by way of podcast has been gaining traction. It’s also a more personal experience for listeners. It may not put a face to a name but it at least puts a voice to a name.
Nowadays, many people have smartphones, a tablet, or at least access to such devices. With those devices, podcasts are a few clicks away. “They can be downloaded or streamed through an app, such as iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play Music. Listeners can have new episodes delivered to them by subscribing to a show’s feed.” Podcasts are also archived, which is great if you cannot listen to your favorite podcast’s latest episode right away. So if you fall behind, you can just listen to your podcast when you have some spare time.
Podcasting is also a great way for librarians to keep up with professional development and continuing education. There are so many unique library podcasts out there for librarians to choose from. The possibilities are endless. “Podcasting allows time to catch up on professional subjects in educational, entertaining, and inspirational ways while performing other tasks and librarians will find podcasts on subjects as varied as the collections they curate.” Podcasting may not be for everybody but it does provide librarians with another option of learning. I, for one, am feeling like webinars are a bit played out. I will be the first to admit that many webinars have only made me sleepier when it is 2:00 p.m. and melatonin in my body is released. I get bored rather quickly and podcasts are livelier, so if I can get my information from an interesting podcast then that is what I will be doing from now on.
My advice is to give podcasting a try. You just might like it. If you are interested in where to start, check out Andromeda Yelton’s Open paren, which features interviews with librarians who are coders. You can also check out LibUX, a podcast about design and user experience. Austin Public Library does a great job with heir podcast as well. They can be heard on SoundCloud chatting it up with some great authors, musicians, and local organizations. If these don’t interest you, simply look for a library podcast on your smart device by typing in “library” under category. I hope you enjoy.
*Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out FYI: The Public Libraries Podcast!
 Public Library Association. “Podcasting for Public Libraries.” http://www.ala.org/pla/education/onlinelearning/webinars/ondemand/podcasting. Accessed July 5, 2017.
 Thomas, Steve. “Hearing Voices: Librarian-Produced Podcasts.” American Libraries. January 4, 2016. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2016/01/04/hearing-voices-librarian-produced-podcasts/. Accessed July 5, 2017.