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Creating Podcasts to Share Community Stories

by on March 13, 2015

The way people access and process information has changed greatly over the past decade. User reviews on Amazon, message boards on Glassdoor.com, YouTube videos, and podcasts to name a few,  are now platforms used for getting and sharing information. My library (Barrington Area Library, Barrington, Illinois) has decided to also take advantage of these information-sharing platforms; starting a weekly podcast for our community members, in December, 2014.  The podcast series focuses on interviews with local entrepreneurs and business owners.

As host of the podcasts, each week  I speak with a different person who has a unique perspective on owning a business. I’ve spoken with seasoned to newly minted business owners, franchise-owners, and people who are turning their business into a franchise. The podcasts are recorded on GarageBand, but Audacity also works. While some interviews have lasted between 20-35 minutes, the majority average 10-15 minutes. I upload the recording to SoundCloud and publish it on our library website and social media. To date I have hosted 10 business podcasts.

I have also taught a class on Podcasting 101 and was surprised at the variety of participants. In addition to business owners, there were educators who wanted to create a podcast for their students, nonprofit organizations who wanted to provide weekly updates and information on their causes, and comedians. The beauty of podcasting is that it works for a variety of users. And as podcasts can be created very easily and uploaded in a matter of minutes, they are a great way to easily and quickly share stories and connect community members.

While my podcast series may not have all the bells and whistles of a professional series—nor do I expect it to be as popular as Serial —I have gotten positive feedback from listeners. They are appreciative of the insights and stories of their peers and fellow community members. In the community that I serve, nearly 80% of businesses only consist of 1-4 employees, so we know that our podcast series topic resonates with our community. Have you used a podcast in your library? If so, share a link below so that we can check it out. You can listen the Barrington Area Library’s Entrepreneur series  here.

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