This week on the PLIF blog Tanya Milligan from Falkirk Community Trust talks about the Library Love Podcast project which has attracted thousands of listeners in the last two years. 

In 2017, Falkirk Community Trust Libraries were excited to be awarded £2620 of PLIF funding to create our Library Love Podcast.

According to the Oxford Living Dictionary, Podcasts are:

 

‘Digital audio files made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.’

 

This basically means they are like radio shows you can listen to anytime, anywhere of you have a smartphone, tablet or PC. As an avid listener of podcasts, I was aware there was a lack of UK-based light-hearted library podcasts. There were US ones, or quite sensible UK ones but nothing that captured the joy I felt when I listened to my colleagues discuss books and the library. What’s more, there were no public library podcasts at all.

I was, and still am, in awe of the immense knowledge and enthusiasm that library staff have and wanted to share that with as many people as possible.  So, I applied for PLIF funding for training in how to create podcasts, promotional materials, recording equipment and a site to host our podcasts and the blogposts that went with them.

Podcast Format
Our set format includes:
  • What we’ve been reading and listening to recently.
  • New and forthcoming stock: around five adult books, five children and teens books, and three DVDs. 
  • Reader’s Agony where we choose a question or problem that a user has brought to the library and give an answer.
  • Staff quote of the day.
  • Our main discussion topic, which can be anything related to books. In the past we’ve discussed topics as diverse as picture books we love, Stephen King, non-traditional romances, International Women’s Day and our favourite books of 2018.
  • A service provided by our libraries, from Community Language novels and emagazines, to Chatterbooks and renewing your issues online.
  • A chance to plug something we’ve got coming up (Bookweek Scotland, a Digi Day, or an author visit, for example).
  • How to get in touch with us and our goodbyes.
Team Work

It’s quite a bit of work preparing for a podcast recording and we usually have two or three staff members preparing and recording each podcast.  The most common voices that people will hear on the podcast are myself and Vikki Ring, Adult Development Librarian, but we have pulled in many different library staff to chat on the podcast.  It’s been a great way to bring staff together as a team. 

We record two podcasts at a time to speed editing and the production of graphics, putting up the podcast and associated blogposts onto our podcast and blog hosts and social media channels.

We’ve been very pleased with the success of Library Love, with 40 episodes produced between October 2017 and January 2019, with so far a total of 2954 downloads – making for an average of over 70 downloads per episode. It’s interesting to see that 1,606 of these downloads have been in the UK, with 566 being in Falkirk and 439 being across the rest of Scotland. Library Love is promoting Scottish libraries across the world, as well as providing a valuable service to Falkirk’s residents and helping to promote our stock and services to our users.

My two favourite quotes about the podcast came from two very different sources:

 

        ‘I told my book group about it and one of them listened while she was out walking, she said she was laughing out loud, and she’s ordered one of the books you were talking about.’

 Senior Library Assistant

 

        ‘@LibFalkirk I absolutely love that you take the time to make a podcast! Such a great, inclusive, encouraging library.  Thank you.’

Twitter

The Library Love PLIF funding ended in summer 2018, but its legacy continues to develop, with a calendar of exciting new podcasts coming out every fortnight, a series of videos on various topics created by us being made available (our unboxing videos have been pretty popular and our British Sign Langauge interpreted picture book readings are soon to come out), and a blog that has started to share more information about us through longer form pieces on our services and events. Library Love shows Falkirk Community Trust Libraries as we see ourselves – as vibrant, welcoming places for the communities we serve. We are immensely grateful that SLIC awarded us PLIF funding which has given us the impetus (as well as the skills and technology) to be able to share our love for libraries across Falkirk area, Scotland, and the world.

To listen to the Library Love podcast, search for Library Love on your podcast app (all iphones have one and you can download one for free for your Android phone or tablet  - Stitcher or Castbox are generally highly rated) or at  www.LibraryLoveFalkirk.com You can also check out the Library Love blog or watch our videos on YouTube . You can also follow Falkirk Libraries on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.