Listen Up! Podcasting for Schools and Libraries

Richard Turner (Bootham School, York, UK)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 28 March 2008




Turner, R. (2008), "Listen Up! Podcasting for Schools and Libraries", New Library World, Vol. 109 No. 3/4, pp. 199-200.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The library and information professional has to understand, evaluate and utilise an increasingly broad range of media resources both to disseminate information more effectively and also to support the advocacy of the service they provide. Podcasting is one of these resource media formats. This slim volume about the increasingly popular and democratic subscription access to digital audio and video delivery was a revealing and accessible introduction. I was a little saddened about one sentence in the opening pages of the introduction, which reads “I do less leisure reading than I used to; instead, I often spend my leisure time listening to and watching podcast productions by people who aren't professionals in the mainstream media world”, but that is perhaps the way of the world and Braun's reduction in recreational reading in favour of supporting a range of podcasts has benefited her research for this work.

Linda Braun is an educational technology consultant with Librarians & Educators Online (LEO) and as such she works with public and school libraries to assist in integrating technology into their services.

This book is a very practical introduction to podcasting, with many real‐life examples to inspire the reader. Braun clearly explains each of the basic terms related to podcasting, such as RSS feeds, Feed Readers, Enclosures and Podcatchers.

The author proceeds to explain how podcasting can be relevant to schools and libraries, and then the stages of planning for podcasting. Each section also benefits from useful asides in separate sidebars of information, such as “How to subscribe to an RSS feed”, “Ten types of library and school podcasts” and “Podcasts for librarians”. Braun successfully manages to explain some technical concepts that may be alien to the library and information professional.

After explaining how to plan the concept of a podcast and discussing some practical examples, the book considers how to develop the content to decide whether to be formal or informal, use music and visuals, and how to work with others. The conclusion is that consistency is the key.

The final two chapters of “Listen Up!” address the technological aspects of making the recording, editing, saving the production, and publishing and distributing the podcast. Again this includes useful additional tips, such as how to compress videos and how to make the podcast more accessible. An additional theme is marketing the podcast to reach the target audience, including the use of social network web sites, podcast directories and other podcasters.

Although key terms are explained in the text, there is also a useful glossary, along with a handy index and list of additional resources. This practical handbook also benefits from appendices that include a podcast planning worksheet, podcasting tools and a sample podcast feed.

After reading this book I certainly felt confident enough to consider entering the previously unknown territory of podcasting. I am sure that having other experienced podcasters, either within or outside the home organisation, to help with the first podcast would be advisable but this is certainly an inspiration to get the wheels in motion. Braun is a sympathetic and patient educator who is never patronising. She is convinced that podcasting is a great idea that can be a useful tool for library and information professional, and her conviction can clearly be seen in this useful tome.

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