15 minutes of fame

Podcasting. I have to admit I got a bit stuck on this one – I decided to leave it until ‘after I’d returned from holiday’ and since then I’ve been procrastinating and putting off doing my homework (never do today that which can be left until tomorrow – that’s my motto!). HOWEVER! I have now done it (and it wasn’t as painful as I thought) and will attempt to collect some semi-sensible thoughts on the uses, or otherwise, of podcasting.

Sandy ToksvigI’ve never really used podcasts before – I mean, I’ve been aware of them for ages and keep thinking to myself every time I miss an episode of The News Quiz ”I really should sign up for their podcasts’, but somehow never get round to it. I wouldn’t necessarily  search out media on specific subjects, there are things I like to listen to but if I haven’t made the effort to catch up on iPlayer then the chances it wasn’t that important to me anyway and it’s no great loss. That being said – I do use the BBC’s iPlayer regularly, and I have been known to watch the odd TED talk now and again (I would particularly recommend Maz Jobrani’s Did you hear the one about the Iranian-American? and Alain de Botton’s Kinder, gentler philosophy of success).

Personal use aside, I think I’d have to class podcasts in the ‘gimmick-nonessential’ group of Things. If you have enough time on your hands, and the final product looks really good, then a podcast could be a real asset to your library website. But if you and your staff are pushed for time then there are 101 other directions in which your time could be better spent (ok, maybe 101 is an exaggeration). I do, however, have to confess to aspiring to Ninja Librarian status – which Library School teaches that, I wonder?

JISC has some podcasts on interesting professional topics, such as the Future of Libraries and Library spaces for the ‘Google Generation‘, but I’m not sure I agree with the use of Podcasting for library tours etc. Yes, they would be useful as a ‘quick reference’ tool, but nothing to replace face-to-face contact with users (which I think we should be encouraging more of).

To summarise, then: Podcasting seems to be an engaging way of disseminating information to users and information professionals alike, but for your ‘average library’ (whatever one of them may be) it’s probably only the icing on the cake – much better to get the actual cake sorted out first 🙂



  1. TraineeMermaid Said:

    Yes, interesting post and I agree with much of what you say. Even better is the cake ….!

  2. Mmm… cake. And yes – podcasting is all fine and dandy if you’re a big place, but it take a lot of effort (I imagine) to do it well.

    On a vaguely connected note, did you get the email about the upcoming launch of the Cambridge Libraries video?

    • whispersinthewilderness Said:

      I did indeed get the email, thank you for checking! Unfortunately won’t be able to attend as I am otherwise engaged that evening.

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