Podcasts in Library Land

Nancy Lovas is pursuing her MLS at the University of Maryland, where she works in the University Libraries as a Research & Teaching Fellow and as a graduate assistant in academic advising. Her professional interests range from instruction to interdisciplinary collaboration, scholarly communications and research assistance. Nancy is happiest on top of a mountain, wandering through the National Gallery of Art, sharing meals with family and friends, and perfecting her frisbee toss in the park.

Library school is busy. Between classes, jobs, internships, and other responsibilities it can feel like there’s barely time to drink that next cup of coffee. Forget keeping up to date with the library blogs, Twitter chats (#critlib, anyone?), and journal articles that facilitate so much conversation within our profession. It’s hard to stay on top of it all. You might first ask, “where do I start?” To this I say: welcome! You’re in a great starting place as Hack Library School has a wealth of information on current trends, pressing issues, and tools for navigating through them. “But,” you add, “when do I have the time to read on top of class assignments?” To that, I say join me in the place I affectionately call “Library Land Podcasts.”

Photo from Mingo Hagen on Flickr Commons. Licensed under CC 2.0.

Photo from Mingo Hagen on Flickr Commons. Licensed under CC 2.0.

Podcasts in general have exploded in popularity in the past few years. Serial, This American Life, and Freakonomics are a few of the most listened-to according to The Stitcher List. The Washington Post reported in 2014 that podcast subscribers are reaching record numbers, perhaps because “Americans spend more than three hours a day commuting, working out, and doing household chores that can be accompanied by audio entertainment.” Here, fellow Hackers, during our commutes, laundry-folding, and runs, is time we can use to learn about and stay up to date on our ever-changing profession.


Because navigating through podcasts in library land can be tricky, I’ll introduce you to three excellent ones. These podcasts have been a crash course in “librarianship” for me since starting library school 6 months ago, really supplementing my coursework and work experience. I’ve gotten a sense of what librarianship is and the significant trends and issues we face. I’ve learned the language of the profession and listened to perspectives from early-career librarians, past ALA presidents, and other fascinating people who have neat stories. And, of course, the podcasts are as entertaining as they are informative.

Circulating Ideas started me down the path of podcast-listening. Each episode is an interview with guests from all walks of library life, from teen services librarians to library administrators, to public libraries and academic libraries, and professionals in non-traditional library work. The wide array of topics and guests opened my eyes to the complexity of the library and information world. Whether you’re into IT, open-access, children’s literature, diversity and information, or any number of things, you’ll find an episode on the subject somewhere in the 4 years of archives. Also of note is the Podcasts of Interest page, which introduced me to the next podcasts.

S.S. Librarianship and Lost in the Stacks offer a bit more whimsy along with insight and commentary. The former has the tag “a podcast for librarians and the nerds who love them.” It’s hosted by 2 (hilarious) early-career librarians in Vancouver who became friends on their first day of library school. They chat about books, tech, Star Trek in “Mind Grapes,” and what’s on their minds from the library world in “Class Z(ed).” Lost in the Stacks is “the one and only Research Library Rock’n’Roll show!” It’s broadcast on 91.1 FM (Atlanta) on Fridays at noon from the Georgia Tech Library and alternates conversation with music segments ranging from indie rock to pop rock to New Wave. These two shows are good company when you want to learn and relax at the same time.
I hope you’ll find time to explore these and other podcasts in library land. Share your favorites in the comments!

7 replies

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for suggesting some interesting library podcasts. I really resonated with your post because I too am in library school and have found it to be great but a wee bit chaos inducing 😉


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