We’re approaching a long weekend and for many of us that means – road trip! If you’re like me, one of the best things about those highway hours is listening to podcasts. I’ve been known to spend a fair chunk of time curating just the right options for a family journey. And I know I’m not alone in my podcast fandom. Their popularity continues to steadily increase. According to the 2018 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital, 44% of Americans (age 12 and over) say they have listened to a podcast.
Libraries not only help people find relevant podcasts, but they can use podcasts for engagement with their communities, too. In her upcoming Infopeople course about Community Engagement, instructor Barbara Alvarez suggests there are countless opportunities for libraries to create podcast series.
Some of her ideas include:
- Storytelling with community members
Partner with local historical societies or genealogy groups to interview and record stories from community members, including senior citizens, about memorable occurrences in the community.
Host an entrepreneur series in which you interview local business owners who decided to become their own boss. Ask about their story, what their recommendations are for people who would like to follow in their footsteps, and what the future is for entrepreneurship. (Take a look at an entrepreneur podcast series Barbara created as a Business Librarian).
Encourage local organizations, businesses, and community members to participate in a monthly booktalk podcast in which you discuss a book (or movie or topic), and get a local expert’s (business owner or organization) input into how that theme relates to the community as a whole. (Barbara’s library hosts a monthly book discussion and has a blast doing it! Listen to their episodes).
- Informational Interviews.
Curious about a certain field, profession, topic, or theme? Create a podcast series exploring oddities, curiosities, and unknown people, places, and things in your community. (Barbara and a colleague hosted an informational series as part of the virtual conference called The Library OnConference. Listen here.)
- Local happenings
Partner with the Park District, Chamber of Commerce, local government, schools, etc. to talk about exciting events going on in the community, and how people can get involved. Interview community members about their participation, too.
- Creative communities
Use the podcast as a platform for local writers and creatives to share their poems, songs, stories, and more. Think of it as an “open mic night” on air.
- Armchair travel
If there are patrons at your library who enjoy traveling, ask if they are willing to share their experiences so fellow members of the community can travel from the comfort of their home.
- Job seeker series
Support the local job seeking network by partnering with job seeker programs or organizations to share best practices, tips and resources that job seekers can utilize during their career transition. This is also a great opportunity to highlight library resources and tools.
Did those examples get your creative juices flowing? We hope so! Using technology for community engagement is all about building new or stronger community relationships using virtual technology, spreading the library’s and the community’s message to a larger audience, particularly those who are unfamiliar with library and community resources, and showcasing aspects of the library and the community that may be overlooked or unknown.
And there’s more good news… you do not need fancy software or expensive equipment to create a podcast series. You can use your smartphone or tablet and free software!
Does your library create podcasts? Can you think of a potential podcast series for your library and community?
In Community Engagement: Building Connections with Technology, Barbara walks learners through process of creating podcasts and videos, too. She also helps learners discover how to broadcast live events, making it possible to share library events virtually. Additional information and registration are available at: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=785&reset=1.
The San Francisco Public Library is primarily funded through a voter-initiated proposition called the Library Preservation Fund, which requires a comprehensive assessment of library location open hours every five years. How does SFPL assess the best hours to for each of their locations to be open? By using data! Read more about their Open Hours Assessment in a Case Study created as part of the California Data Informed Public Library initiative.
Earlier this summer, Lawrence (KS) Public Library contributed to a case study describing their community needs assessment: Assessing the Hopes and Needs of the Community We Serve.
Has your library used data to make plans, decisions, and changes? We’re seeking additional Case Studies to share! Contact brenda (at) infopeople.org if interested in sharing your library’s data story.
Many libraries are working to demonstrate the effectiveness of their activities by initiating and completing outcome-based evaluation of projects. Using a logic model can enhance planning, implementation, and dissemination activities. When you use a logic model, you become aware of the assumptions underlying what you are doing.
During her June 12, 2018 webinar delivered as part of the Data Informed Public Library initiative, Demonstrating Library Value with Data, presenter Amanda Standerfer discussed the value of using a logic model to guide your library’s data collection and to set targets to show your success and inform learning when using data to demonstrate impact.
Want to learn more?
- The webinar with Amanda Standerfer was recorded/archived.
- See also the library logic model template shared as a webinar resource.
The Data Informed Public Library initiative is funded by the California State Library and implemented by Infopeople. The project is supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.
Are you looking to further your learning about data and evaluation? There are lots of online learning opportunities that can help! Next week, join us for free one-hour webinar, Demonstrating Library Impact with Data. Presenter Amanda Standerfer will help you learn to develop and implement an outcomes-based evaluation framework that is easy to manage and that makes sense for your library. You’ll get the tools to design a logic model to guide your data collection and set targets to show your success and inform learning. This webinar is part of the Data Informed Public Libraries (DIPL) initiative that is being sponsored by the California State Library and implemented by Infopeople. The project is supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.
Interested in even more data learning? Our friends at RIPL recently shared several archived webinars to check out:
From PLA Project Outcome:
Check out these upcoming learning opportunities!
- Reducing Workplace Stress with Mindfulness
A one-hour webinar, May 24th at Pacific – 12 Noon, Mountain – 1 PM, Central – 2 PM, Eastern – 3 PM
Presenter: Katie Scherrer
Do you sometimes feel distracted at work? Do you feel pulled in too many directions simultaneously? Do you feel stress from your work life creeping into your personal time? Mindfulness is a simple practice that can help all of us reduce stress by connecting to the present moment. It requires no special equipment or prior experience and can be practiced anywhere at any time. This webinar will introduce participants to the practice of mindfulness by presenting basic science about the practice and its benefits, connecting the experience of mindfulness to library work, and by guiding participants through several beginning practices in real time.
- Workplace Burnout: Bouncing Back with Resilience
An online course, starts June 5th and ends July 2nd
Instructor: Debra Westwood
Staff who work in public service positions, like libraries, face mental and emotional challenges in their daily work. Budget struggles, trying to make a difference in high need communities, changes in the library’s role, concerns at home, local and national politics – it adds up! When that kind of pressure is coming at you from all directions, it can contribute to a gradual grinding down, loss of joy, a fading enthusiasm that we call burn-out. In this 4-week course, look at the physiology & psychology of burnout, as well as how it manifests itself physically, emotionally and behaviorally. Know the difference between stress and burnout. Learn restorative practices to help restore resiliency and job satisfaction.
- “I could really use a good laugh!” How to Give a Laughter-as-Therapy Program in Your Library
A one-hour webinar, June 14th at Pacific – 12 Noon, Mountain – 1 PM, Central – 2 PM, Eastern – 3 PM
Presenter: William Mongelli
Stress – good AND bad – is a fact of human existence. As it turns out, laughter IS one of the best medicines! The physiological and psychological benefits of laughter and humor continue to be documented in the scientific study of laughter (gelatology). Even the simple act of smiling has been shown to improve mood and nurture a positive mental outlook. This webinar will give you the skill-sets necessary to teach both your library users and library staff a fun & effective way of managing the stresses of their day. Laughter-as-therapy in the library environment can be offered to library users of all ages.