Library Podcasts

While I wear a lot of different hats (writer, online entrepreneur, mom) I am primarily a podcaster. All the rest of the stuff (except for mom, of course) fits under the umbrella of podcaster. I’ve been podcasting for over eight years, and have one of the longest running indie history podcasts. It’s had over a million downloads.

But I also spent a decade and a half in libraryland; most recently as the Assistant Director of the Califa Library Group, California’s largest library consortium. During my time there I negotiated group discounts saving member libraries over four million dollars a year. I also created new projects, spearheading Califa’s role in the enki library – the first statewide shared eBook collection on a platform built entirely by libraries with content purchased directly from publishers (as opposed to the vendor model of libraries renting a platform, and not fully owning the content).

Now I’m merging the two worlds, and offering podcasting services to libraries. It’s a merger of two loves of my life.

So, should your library even have a podcast?

To be honest, I don’t know. It depends on what you’re already doing with patron outreach and marketing. If you have a newsletter already, then a podcast is a natural extension of that. But in a lot of ways, it’s even better. Why? The level of intimacy you have with the listener.

Let’s look at some facts. 

The Pew Research Center put together a fact sheet on Audio and Podcasting in June, 2017. It states that:

  • 40% of Americans 12 and older have listened to a podcast in their lives
  • 24% have listened in the past month
  • This is up from 18% and 9% respectively in 2008.

About the same percentage of people who use Twitter have listened to a podcast in the past month. And nearly 3/4 of them are listening on a mobile device. So what does that mean, and why is that important for your library?

Podcast listenership is a unique way to reach people because of the relationship you have with them. They’re listening on a mobile device because they are either in their car (where they aren’t likely to read your newsletter), at the gym, or on the subway. Podcasters have a unique and intimate relationship with their listeners because of the intimacy of the relationship. It’s not just reading an email newsletter. It’s literally being in their heads, through their headphones. You build up a level of trust and closeness that is nearly impossible in conventional forms of outreach like social media and email.

So how does a library use that?

Imagine being able to reach future patrons through podcasting? What if you put out such a high quality show that people tuned in just to listen, and then they came to the library as a natural extension of your show?

Libraries can use podcasts to:

  • Interview local authors and let them share their own unique stories
  • Record and share lectures and events that happened at the library so those who are unable to attend live can still benefit
  • Interview staff and patrons about new or popular databases. Imagine interviewing patrons who learned Spanish using your Mango Languages subscription, or got jobs through your Gale product? It’s a great way to showcase library success stories.
  • Library directors can share what’s happening at a high level – things patrons don’t normally see.
  • Have staff share their favorite books, or discuss the reading club choices
  • … and so much more…

Okay Heather, this sounds great, but you know libraries. Our budgets are stretched paper thin already. We don’t have the time to figure out this new technology, or put together a show that sticks to a regular schedule. It sounds wonderful, but it’s a lot of work.

I know that. I’ve been doing it since 2009, so more than most people, I understand the work that goes into producing a quality show.

Here’s how I can help

1) I can produce your show for you.

I would be a contractor who would be in charge of your podcast. We could do it once a month, twice a month, or once a week depending on your budget. To get the most listenership, I’d recommend twice a month. I’d set the entire show up including, but no limited to:
1) Hosting on my service (or, if you need your own to comply with city IT requirements, I’ll help you get it set up through a podcasting service)
2) Show creation including logo, description, submission to iTunes and other podcast aggregators.
3) Producing all episodes with your guidance and input, including hosting and interviews. You let me know how involved you’d like me to be.
4) Audio editing and post production for all shows.
5) Creating shareable images, keywords, shortlinks, etc., for each episode so you can share it widely with your fans.
6) Monitoring and sending you statistics so you have complete knowledge over how many people are downloading each episode, and can see what communications are the most popular.

Rates start at $250 for a show of about 20-25 minutes inclusive of all editing and post production, but there is also a setup fee of $250 to set up a new show. This is to cover the time required in submitting a new show to iTunes, setting up hosting, and the other steps needed to create the show.

If you want to buy blocks of 12 shows the price goes down to $200/show and I waive the setup fee. This would be perfect for a year of monthly shows.

If you want to buy a block of 24 shows the price goes down to $175/show and again I waive the setup fee. This would be great for a year of twice monthly shows.

Before starting on any show we will have a call or Skype session where you’ll tell me more about why you want to get into podcasting, share some topic ideas, and some of the unique stories you want to tell. I’ll also send you a form to gather contact information and story ideas.

Note that podcasts would be perfect for regional consortia and systems, with libraries taking turns on who gets the most focus and the region as a whole sharing the stories, and then you can split the cost among the participating libraries.

I know how to create compelling content that has been downloaded over a million times.
If you want to reach your patrons in an entirely new way through podcasting, I am the person to help you do that.

2) I can also train you on how to create a show of your own. Everything from the size of the cover art you need for iTunes to the most popular aggregators for android users… I have it neatly wrapped up in an afternoon’s Skype training that I can provide to you and your team. I have been teaching an online course called the Podcast Bootcamp to individuals for a year, and I’m familiar with all the steps that cause hangups along the way, so can address those easily.


Comments are closed