Podcasting @ My Library: Part One

Introduction

For those who don’t know, I’m part of a crew who records a monthly podcast called QC BOOKTALK. Basically, what we do is a story hour, but for adults. We dramatize a story and occasionally have authors come in and read their own work. My friend and colleague, Dr. Howard Carron puts together the stories (and adapts them for performances), Tony acts and reads from the scripts, and I act and do all the technical audio stuff from recording to editing to online production.

Everything is pretty easily set up, and the entire thing is mobile. That’s a big plus since we’re going to take this thing on the road to talk about it at an Adult Services get together in a week or so. However, what you’re looking at there is our basic set up. Microphones, an audio board, headphones, and a computer to bring it all together.

So if you’re wondering how you might create some kind of online show for your library, the truth is, it’s not hard at all. You don’t even need all this stuff. What you really need is a computer (Laptops are preferable since they’re portable but there’s nothing wrong with using a desktop.) and a microphone. If you can score a decent microphone, that’s all the better. Some places use headset mics, others use a big tabletop mic that people crowd around. Either way, you don’t need a lot of gear.

I record the initial production using a free, open source programme called Audacity. You can edit and do all your post production in Audacity too and you’ll never pay a dime for the software. I prefer to do my editing and post production in  Adobe Audition, but that’s because I’ve been using Audition since the time it was called Cool Edit Pro and I’m really comfortable working with it.

In the end, you’re simply recording into a tape recorder – something many of us did when we were kids. The only difference is that the “tape recorder” is now a computer and you have the ability to go back into your recording and add things, clean things up, edit stuff out, and all kinds of coolness that you really couldn’t do as a kid. And, just like when you were a kid, the best part of making a recording is sharing it with your friends. With a podcast, you can still do exactly that with one big difference: you can share it with the world by putting it online.

Over the next couple of articles I’ll explain what I do and how you can do it too. While podcasting isn’t new, it’s something that still mystifies people in the library world. However, it’s a wonderful and relatively inexpensive way of getting your library out there into a bigger world and providing entertainment and education for your patrons. It’s worth looking at and, believe me, you can have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

So stay tuned. More to come!

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