STEVE THOMAS: Hi, this is Circulating Ideas, the librarian interview podcast. My name is Steve Thomas, and this episode is going to be a little bit different. Usually, we do an interview with a librarian, or a library-related person, but this episode is going to be about creating this podcast.
This is about the library Day-In-The-Life project. This is my contribution to that this year. This is the seventh round of that, which was created a few years back by Bobby Newman, and it happens twice a year. And what it is, it’s a project to let people know what it is librarians do all day long because we don’t just sit around reading all day like the stereotype is, and there’s lots of stuff that even supporters of libraries don’t necessarily know that we do. So, what you can do is you can go to the Wiki that Bobby set up which is librarydayinthelife.pbworks.com and you can find all the entries there for this year. Or, you can even just Google “library day in the life” and lots of people’s entries will come up, and you can read about that. It’s a very cool project. You can learn about what all kinds of different librarians do because even librarians don’t know what other librarians do. Public librarians maybe don’t know what a law librarian does. They… a librarian in a hospital doesn’t necessarily know what a school librarian does. So, there’s a lot of variety within the profession.
So, people either write up a blog posting, or do a video, or record a podcast (like some people), or some people just record their day on Twitter using the hashtag #libday7. That’s for this year obviously, the number goes up as the years go up. I’ve noticed a couple of people have started using Google Plus as well. You know that’s still in beta. There are a few librarians who are really embracing that, so there’s some people that are recording their days on that. I assume that people may be doing it on Facebook as well. I haven’t seen any, but I assume they’re doing that as well. Usually it’s a blog because people want to kind of put everything in one piece. I’ve seen some people live blogging it, like Swiss Army Librarian live blogs it. On Google Plus I know I’ve seen Sarah Houghton-Jan doing it. So, you can follow that on Twitter, blogs, all that kind of stuff. It’s really cool. So here, anyway, is my entry in that.
What I’m going to do is I have an interview in about 30 minutes, and so I decided to start recording this beforehand so I can kind of document what I do as I lead up to an interview. What I do is I have my computer open. I have an iMac. I’ve got Garageband open to record this. The calls themselves, the interviews themselves, I record on Skype. So I’ve got an add-on called Call Recorder which is a very apt name because it records calls. It does a very good job (shout out there). [Coughs] Usually if I cough like that I would edit it out, but I’m just going to leave it running this time, and see what happens.
So I record the calls on Skype, and then I bring the files into Garageband to edit it together. I do also have Audacity as another backup program to record in case something goes wrong with Call Recorder, which it did a couple of episodes back, so that was very nice that I had that backup. But, I do bring it into Garageband to edit it, and put the music together. The music was written and performed by my wife’s cousin Pamela Klicka. I enjoy it very much, and I hope you like it as well.
So, I put that all together, mix it together, and post it online. I post it onto Internet Archive, and then get the link out of there and post it on the site’s blog. It goes into an RSS feed, and onto iTunes. You can subscribe on iTunes, you just have to subscribe on a podcatcher. All kinds of ways to get it. You can listen to it directly from the site. You can just click on the link.
But, how I make the episode. So I’ve got the computer open, I’ve got my proper files open, I do go ahead and get Skype open. I’ve got Skype open here. I’m interviewing two people today. I’m not going to talk about it very much because you need to listen to the episode to hear the actual interview. But, one of the people I want to talk to is already online. I’ve already sent a chat saying “Hi, I’m here, we’ll talk soon”. That’s to sort of acknowledge that I’m around and getting stuff ready. I always have a glass of water next to me in case I do have a coughing fit, or my throat starts to hurt after talking for too long. I try not to talk for too long because I want to engage the guests to talk because people don’t listen to this to listen to me talk, except this episode I guess. They listen for the guest.
I try to come up with questions that I think will get them talking about what they’re passionate about. Because that’s really what this show is all about, is getting librarians who are passionate about a subject on here to talk about that subject with which they are passionate. They come and share their views, share what they do. I think it’s sort of a sister project on most of the librarian day-in-the-life anyway as it’s letting people know these neat, innovative projects that people are doing on an everyday basis. Maybe things that people don’t know are going on, even though they are librarians, and help people find inspiration from that, and learn to do their own innovative things from that.
So anyway, I have this glass of water, like today I have it in a glass glass. I try not to have it actually in a glass because when I do that, if I’ve got ice in it, [ice cubes rattle]. That, you can hear that on the interview, so I try to put it in a plastic cup so you can’t quite hear the jingling of the ice quite as much. And if you want to be sophisticated you can pretend like it’s a glass of Scotch or something that I’m drinking, I don’t know.
For each interview I do I create a Google Doc, and in that Google Doc I have the subjects that I want to speak with them about, the topics that I want to talk to them about. And then I keep that… I start my Google Doc when I book somebody on the show and I just, as I research them, as I read things that they wrote, I just put notes in there in no kind of order. A week or so before the interview I try to start putting that into some sort of order, grouping like subjects together so I can get a vague outline of what I want to talk about. It’s very vague, it’s fluid, I let the conversation flow. As it flows I try to take cues from what they’re saying to pick up a subject. That may mean jumping to what I intended to be my last question, and put it somewhere in the middle just because they’ve already brought up the subject. I want the conversation to flow a little more naturally.
So, I do that, and this is obviously a stream of consciousness kind of thing because I’m not sure what else to do. So, I do the Google Doc and we do that, and I do the interview on Skype as I said. So far I haven’t had any trouble getting people for the show. I’ve had a couple of people who have not returned emails, but who knows, it may just be that they don’t understand who I am. I’m not going to have low self-esteem about it and cry, boo hoo hoo. I’ll try other people later.
I’ve got a list of about 50-something people that I want to talk to, and given that it’s a monthly show it will take me a while to get through that list, and that’s even if I don’t add anyone else to it, which I expect I will. I’ve gotten a lot of suggestions from my colleagues, that I really appreciate, to give me new names. There are times that if I don’t know who the “expert” in a field is, or somebody who is doing interesting things in a certain field, or in different types of libraries because I don’t necessarily know anything about special libraries, say.
The only other thing I wanted to talk about was the equipment that I’ve gotten. I mentioned that I use my Mac to record it on, to put it all together on Garageband. My first episode I just used the internal mic on the computer, and that was sounding a little echoey. Sorry Buffy! That’s my first guest. Luckily she was fantastic and her knowledge overcame any echoness that was in that. I have since purchased a blue Snowball mic and I think my audio sounds a lot better now. I hope you agree. I do plan in the future to purchase a laptop so that I can go out and do in-person interviews at conferences, or just with local people. Skype is fine, but I would like to be able to move on if I need to.
So, I think that’s about it. Thank you for listening. I hope this was somewhat informative, and that I didn’t blabber on too much. It looks like I talked for about 10 minutes. Hopefully that was not a boring 10 minutes. Next episode we will rejoin our normal progress, process. It will be a regular interview, I think you’ll find it interesting. I’ve got a lot of good stuff coming up. I’ve got about the first year planned out pretty much with a couple of gaps, and I think you’ll find them interesting.
I always take suggestions for interview subjects or for changes to the show. You can email me for the show at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit circulatingideas.com. You can like the show on Facebook at facebook.com/circulatingideas, or you can follow us on Twitter at @circideas. Thanks and I hope you’ll join me next time.