This is Circulating Ideas, I’m Steve Thomas. In this very different episode, the guest is me and I am interviewed by Leah White who is a librarian at the Northbrook Public Library near Chicago. This episode came about due to the successful Kickstarter campaign and this was one of the stretch goals, that Leah would interview me for the show and we accepted questions from contributors and here’s the result of that.
I am Leah White and I am a Reader Services Librarian at Northbrook Public Library in the suburbs of Chicago and I am interviewing Steve Thomas, @stevelibrarian and also as you know him, the host of this wonderful, awesome podcast Circulating Ideas, because you guys got it together and got, made the Kickstarter go through. So, yay!
So, we asked for people for questions and thank you so much to everyone who submitted and we’re going to go ahead and get started, but I’m going to totally cheat and ask some of my own questions as well. So, this is my own question. The first thing I want to know is how did it see, how did it feel to see Wrigley Field for the first time?
It was, it was fantastic! [laughs] As a national league fan I had no interest in the White Sox, who are playing in town. We are at the ALA conference doing this interview and they were in town so I was very upset when the Cubbies were out of town. But I did go spend a lot of money buying Cubbies merchandise anyway [laughs] for my family. So it, it was exciting, very much, they’re one of the other teams, I’m a Braves fan because I’m from Atlanta, but Cubbies are one of the other teams that are close to my heart. We had a great, we had, one of our great pitchers was Greg Maddox who came from Chicago first, that’s where he got famous and then we had him and he helped make us famous, so.
Awesome. Well, that actually kind of answers one of our user-submitted questions, from Emily Clasper which is, “The only question that matters in these parts is Mets or Yankees?” But, I think we know go Cubs and Braves.
Yes, the answer to that is neither, because Yankees because they’re pure evil and Mets because they’re our division rivals, so. [laughs]
Sorry, Emily. Okay, I have another question. I’d like to know who some of your podcast idols are? And this also leads to one of our questions from Tracey Carter which is about what inspired you to start the podcast?
Well, I can, I’m going to get my phone out so that Leah can see that I’m not lying about what podcasts I actually listen to.
My main podcast title is, what I started off with was Terry Gross on Fresh Air on NPR. That’s what I sort of was sort of thinking of when I thought of this podcast in the first place, is why I wanted to do it. Because I was listening to her show and thinking I liked the one-on-one interview style. There’s another one, his name is Dan Benjamin, he does a lot of tech podcasts, he runs a network called 5by5, it’s a bunch of tech, techy kind of podcasts and he does, he did a show for a long time and it was all just one-on-one interviews, it was all with techy people, mostly Apple people cause I’m a big Apple nerd.
But, so that’s, those are the two big ones and, so I have, I mean I just have tons of podcasts on here that I listen to regularly.
So, that’s interesting that you bring up Fresh Air because Terry Gross actually interviews all of her people remotely too and I, I mean was there a conscious thought about that? That you were going to interview people who weren’t necessarily geographically convenient?
It wasn’t specifically what I wanted to do, but it was more just a realism that, I mean I’m in Atlanta and there’s only so many librarians in Atlanta. I mean even if I, I mean there’s lots of great librarians around there, but I mean I can’t talk to everybody who I want to talk to. A lot of it, I, you know, I want to use the Movers and Shakers list, is a good little screening tool to find people that I want to talk to and, I mean, just, there’s just librarians all over the place that I want to talk to and get the word about, the passion that they have for the profession. We will, we just got out of a session here at ALA about bringing your passion to your work and that, my thought is I do have a lot of passions about my just everyday job, but my biggest passion project is this show, so.
It shows. I mean you can see it in that, that’s what makes it so great.
Did I answer that question?
Yeah, so, again Tracey Carter, what, my question is what inspired you to start the podcast? And what technology did you start out with when making your first podcast?
Well, I mean, what inspired me was just that I listen to a lot of podcasts myself, like Fresh Air, and just one day it hit me that I would like to hear a show like this about librarians and it’s one of those things that if you have a really great idea and you find that nobody else is doing it, then it’s sort of up to you to do it.
Yeah, to make it happen, yeah.
And for the old ALA Think Tank thing of make it happen, so that’s why I was, I just decided that, I, at first and then sort of the Circulating Ideas name just came to me and then I looked around and nobody was using that and so it came together. And my original thought was, “Okay, well, I’ve got this good idea, I think it’s a good idea, so let me find somebody to do it, because somebody should do this.” I was, “ A professional ways to do this kind of thing.” And it was my wife actually who just said, “Well, you just do it.” [laughs]
Yeah, go wife, yeah.
Yes [laughs]. So I just decided to start doing it and Buffy Hamilton was a local librarian so I asked her to do it first. I had originally thought first, at the time, Bobbi Newman was also local so I was going to ask her to do it, but the timing didn’t work out and so, and then I asked Buffy and she said yes and so that, I thought, also she’s a nice, big name in the library world so that’s a good way to make, to make a big splash at first.
Yeah, start out big.
Yeah, that’s awesome.
And the, and the technology end of that. That first episode if you go back and listen to it does not sound very good because it was just me in front of my iMac turning on the record button in GarageBand and recording and so I had the volume up too loud, there’s lots of reverb so you can, so it does not sound very good and Buffy has agreed to come back on at some point so I can do a more professional sounding [laughs] episode.
Oh, that’s great, yeah, that’s great news.
So that was, yeah, at the beginning it was all just my iMac plus the free little software that comes on iMac, is the GarageBand and Skype and I did, I got a little, there’s this $20 add-on that you can get for Skype to record calls coming off of it. And there actually free options now that were not available then, so for anybody else that wants to do that there are free options for recording Skype calls now. But Skype themselves do not allow you to record, so you have to buy, you have to get add-ons for that. And I used the Internet Archive to store everything so I didn’t have to pay for hosting of the files, so that was good and I used, I was going to use WordPress to do the blog where I would post all the episodes, but it turns out if you own your own domain name and want to do, whatever that’s called, sort of making it go.
Like you hosting?
No, just making it go to your address instead of, redirect, redirect. If you wanted to redirect to the right site, when you did that, you have to pay a fee to redirect, so I went to Blogger who does not charge you a fee to redirect, so it. So, the site, this site doesn’t look as good as I want it to, even now, just because it’s, Blogger is pretty template orientated so it doesn’t, but it’s mostly just there as a placeholder for people to go to get the episodes, so.
Especially, I just download, I mean I get them straight to my iPhone.
Right, yeah, I think that’s how most people do it, they just, they just subscribe through iTunes or whatever other podcatcher thing that they’ve got so I don’t, I don’t know that a lot of people go, I mean there are a lot of people that go to the site but I don’t know how much people stay on the site and listen. They might just download the episode and go. The, the problem is that they don’t provide, iTunes especially doesn’t provide any stats to you, so I don’t have any stats about how many people download through iTunes, so I don’t really know audience-wise how many I’ve got. I mean I know the RSS feed has about 200, last time I checked which was months ago, people subscribed to it, so I’m, at least that many people listen, but I don’t, but, so I don’t think that even includes iTunes so I don’t know for sure.
Oh, it’s got to be more than that.
I would think so because there were, I mean there were 113 people, I think it was 113 was the final, that gave to the Kickstarter, so.
I would assume they were all listeners, one of which was my mom, of course.
[laughs] Go mom! So, this one’s from Jeffrey Davis. Why do you think there are so few library profession podcasts?
For one thing I don’t think podcasting is still a huge thing. I mean it’s still getting out there. I think as data plans are getting cheaper and people can afford to stream things now and do things on their phones a lot more, that’s becoming more popular as radio dives down, then podcasting and internet radio kinds of things are coming up. I think that it will become more popular, is part of it. I mean there are some good ones out there. There’s one, I mean Maurice Coleman has T Is For Training. That’s a good one if you do training in your library, that’s a good one. There was a good one called Adventures In Library Instruction that was some academic librarians that, actually I used to work with a couple of them.
But it was, all of those, they were all tailored to a specific crowd, so there’s not, I mean there’s This Week In Libraries which is a more, it’s a video, I think you were on that.
Yeah, I was, I was on that, yeah. This Week In Libraries is pretty great, but it’s all video based. Yeah.
Right, so it’s a, I mean it’s sort of a podcast, but it’s a video show and they’re doing, they’re kind of doing the same thing that I’m doing in general and they’re more international because they’re based out of, I want to say Denmark but I’m not sure that’s right.
They’re, they’re in, yeah, they’re in Delft which I believe is in, gosh, they’re, I always call them..
We’re Americans, we don’t know geography.
[laughs] I always call them the Dutch librarians. They’re wonderful, the Shanachies, they’re great.
Yes, they’re, they’re really great. So they’re doing the same kind of thing, but, and on a more international scale and not just audio.
Okay, so we actually, we’ve got a lot questions from Kristi Chadwick. So let’s, let’s dive right in. What stereotypical librarian minutia do you participate in? Such as do you have cats? Sweater vests? Too many books? Those librarian vices, tote bags, we are, we at ALA, tote bags are a-plenty, so.
I don’t have a lot of tote bags, I always come back with, I have a lot of tote bags with me right now because they’re the Kickstarter rewards for other people, so I’m trying to give those away, [laughs] But.
[laughs] You’re like the tote bag fairy!
Yes [laughs] I don’t collect tote bags, a lot of times, I mean my wife will take the tote bags that I bring home from conferences a lot of times. Usually I don’t go round to the, if I go to the vendor booths and get things, I try not to get the tote bag even, I’ll, I’ll take.
What? [laughs] Gasp!
I will take it if I need something to carry things around in, but I don’t take them just on principal. [laughs]
Whenever my boyfriend goes to a conference he brings back tote bags for me, so maybe this is a dude thing? I don’t know.
Yeah, I think so, cause I got, my wife ends up using it and she made sure the Kickstarter thing, she was, “I didn’t give any money to your Kickstarter cause it’s our shared monies so it doesn’t really count. And, but I still want a tote bag, so you gotta get me a tote bag.” [laughs] So, yeah.
[laughs] Tote bags are important.
Yes. But no I, we do, we have a cat, we just had a cat pass away, sad face.
No, I’m so sorry.
But we have another cat, so we, we did, we’re a cat family, except now our kids want a dog, so I suppose we’ll be a dog family.
Yeah, you could do both.
Eventually two, you can do both, yes.
I’ve got both. It works.
Yes, but cats, cats are more our personality, but my wife as well, But.
What’s your cat’s name?
Aww, that’s adorable. Oh, yay, cats.
And, and yeah we do have tons of books.
Around the house.
Every librarian should have tons of books. I can go on record saying that. So, what topic do you think hasn’t been covered in the podcast that you think should be covered?
I just recently started doing more topic-based ones. I, I’ve generally before I was focusing just on individual people, but I, I have wanted to do some things.
I keep thinking I want to do some really big e-book thing, but then I start hearing too much about e-books, I’m sick of hearing about e-books and I don’t want to research it more to do an episode.
E-books, necessary evil, yeah.
Right, so I mean I may do that some day. I don’t know, I usually think of it more in terms of guests. So I do have a really, really, really, really long list of people that I want to have on the show. So I don’t usually think of it in terms of topics necessarily, but yeah, I’ve got a huge list of people.
Of people. Well the, her next question was what topic will you never cover on the podcast. Or, I don’t want to say what’s a person who you would never [laughs] have on the podcast because that seems rather pointed. But, is.
I will neither confirm nor deny that there is a blacklist.
[laughs] Yeah [laughs] So we, maybe we’ll gloss over that question.
There’s no real blacklist.
Yeah. [laughs] How much, how much time does it take? So, in two seconds I can get access to your podcast, but I am assuming, I mean how many, how much per week are you dedicating to this podcast?
It’s on and off. I mean a lot of the research comes just from being able to do professional reading, I mean I can read Library Journal on my, even just regular work time, and that counts as professional development for my work. And so then I’ll read the Mover and Shaker episode of, issue and so I can learn about them and then. A lot of times it’s just a name that pops up as somebody that I want to talk about, talk to and what I’ll do is I’ll go, if they, it’s helpful to me if they’re active online cause that makes it easy to do their research. That way I can just do it at home when we’re sitting there watching TV, or if I feel it’s relevant enough I’ll do it as part of my regular job, cause the podcast is not related to my regular job so I don’t, I try not to do too much on regular work time to do with it. But, how many hours does it? It depends on the guest, cause I mean I’ll, a lot of times it’s somebody that I’ve already kept up with anyway, so I’m already following their blog, but I’ll go back through and mark things that I specifically want to ask them about. Like if they wrote a post recently about that, or I’ll follow their Twitter, or I’ll follow Facebook or something like that. So I try to do as much research as I can. If they have papers they’ve written that are able for me to find, like not in a locked-away journal that I don’t have a subscription to, but I can’t read it. But, I mean, it’s, just for the recording of the episode alone is about an hour usually.
And how about post-production?
Post-production is probably at least, is a couple, 2, 3 hours minimum, cause I listen to it back once to go through and cut out long pauses, or too many umms, or things like that. I don’t cut them all out cause I don’t want it to sound too unnatural, but if it’s long ummmmmm, ahhhhh, too much of that just doesn’t sound that great after a while.
[laughs] Oh man.
And I, and I’ve actually gotten to the point where I can see on the GarageBand, in the GarageBand, that’s where I do the editing in the GarageBand still, but I can see the waveform of what an umm looks like now and I know where it is and I can just, I can snip it out really quickly [laughs].
You’re an umm hunter.
Yes, that’s amazing!
But yeah, but it, so I, so I go through the episode once and do all that and then I go through the episode again, to listen to it again, so I listen to it at least twice before it gets posted and that’s, but it takes me, I don’t know, yeah I mean it’s at least three hours for an hour long episode. Sometimes I’ve had longer episodes that take obviously just longer depending on how long it is.
[laughs] And the last question from Kristi is, what exactly do you do for your day job?
Well, I work at Gwinnett County Public Library which is outside Atlanta. It’s a suburban library system. I’m just an assistant branch manager. So I just manage day-to-day stuff at the branch, schedules and things like that and supervise staff, all kinds of.
You’re making it sound so easy and I know it isn’t.
No, it’s not, and, I mean, there’s lots of stuff to do, and I mean, we organize outreach to the schools and the community and things like that…
So you make the library work?
So my branch.
No big thing, yeah, no big thing.
So, so my boss, my branch manager can take her time doing other higher-end stuff usually.
Awesome. Andrew Shuping. So Andrew asked, this is going to be cut out, oh god, oh, so Andrew asks how long do you want to continue to do this podcast?
Indefinite, I guess. I don’t, I don’t have an endpoint in mind.
[laughs] Yeah, no, I have no endpoint in mind.
And what’s the thing you want everyone to know about you that they don’t know? That’s a rather personal question, Andrew.
Yeah. Well, I think the couple of questions back was one of those, that I don’t, I don’t usually talk about where I work, so there’s one that somebody and most people don’t know about. And that’s more just of a, because it doesn’t have anything to do with my work, the podcast, that I try to keep the, just distance there, the professional distance there and that. So, something, I don’t work on it on work time, it’s a, I try, I just try to keep a distance from that. I mean I don’t, I don’t specifically, I mean they know everything that I do, I mean I update them and say. When I did the Kickstarter I said, “I’m doing a Kickstarter, my name is going to be out there, so I just want you to know that I’m doing, that I’m doing this and it’s a library related thing, so it’s related to libraries, but no I’m not going to, it’s not going to disrupt my work in any way.” But, yeah, I don’t know that there’s any other secrets.
[laughs] Yeah, he really, he really wants to know about your secrets because the last question is what’s one secret, sec, what’s one secret you’re willing to reveal live? This is, this is like truth or dare. [laughs]
What’s one secret?
Well, the cat was a secret.
Even, you, yeah, there you go, my cat, my cat.
What’s your, here, I’ll, I’ll get you, this isn’t a secret, but what’s your favorite book?
For the longest time…
Oh, it was Ender’s Game.
Now see, I was going to say, you’re going to get, you’re going to get all upset.
No, it’s okay. I won’t get upset.
That was it for the longest time and I still have that little place in my heart that I can’t let it go completely, but no I, it has been tarnished and I’m trying to think, I don’t know that anything has jumped into it, so I don’t really have a good set answer any more because it was the answer for the longest time, but yeah.
Due to certain things that we won’t discuss.
Yeah, I’m actually working on a list of books right now for my blog, called Alternatives to Ender’s Game and it breaks my heart a little because I also loved the book. But now I’m trying to find things that I love and other books that I can also suggest to patrons and it’s tough.
I guess I’ll, I mean I’ll say Old Man’s War, I guess, Scalzi, it’s one of my favorites.
Number one on my list.
I mean he’s probably one of my favorite author at the moment.
Apparently, he, he spoke at the Movers and Shakers reception which I had to leave early and missed his talk, but he gave this talk about libraries where he cried. And everyone in the audience cried, so now we can love John Scalzi even more.
Yes, so I’ll, we’ll put Old Man’s War in that slot for now.
Awesome. So Daniel says, “What did, why did you decide to join the library world?”
Well, I don’t have a really good, exciting answer for that one. It’s basically I was working in bookstores and…
What bookstore did you work at?
Several, I started in a little independent store down in Sarasota, Florida. And then I moved when, then I’ve worked for Books-A-Million in Florida where I met my wife, because she was working in there too and she always likes to say you could find anything in a bookstore, including a husband. That’s her joke.
[laughs] that’s awesome!
And then, and then when I moved, she went to a graduate school in Atlanta so I moved up here after we got engaged and married, so when I moved up there I just got a job at the, I wonder where the Barnes & Noble mall store used to be called, B. Dalton. So I worked at that for a little bit and then they closed that and, Barnes & Noble closed that entire part of their company, so that store obviously closed and I worked at a Barnes & Noble for a little bit. And then I wasn’t making tons of money because that’s a retail job and my wife said, “Hey, at my school where I work at Emory University, where she was going to grad school, there’s an opening for a, in the library if you want to come and do it for that? And it pays a lot more than what you get right now.” And it was just the stacks person, a person who goes shelves books and one of my main parts of my job was to shift the collection because they were, to make room for all this new stuff around, so that was my job.
I had a very similar first job. I was a professional shelf reader in my first, very first gig, it was horrible. You got to do it.
Yeah, no it’s a, so I did that for, when did I do that? I got that job in ‘99 guess, and then for a couple of years, or 2000 maybe, it must have been, I don’t know. No, actually no it was 2000 because I got the job in April and then I got married May that same year, so I had to get the job and then I had to say, “Oh by the way I can work for three weeks and then I need to take two weeks off for my wedding and honeymoon.” [laughs] “So I hope that’s okay.”[laughs]
And so I moved from there into, still at that, at Emory. They were very encouraging for us to go, to go to library school and so I went to library school while I was there. And they actually, I’m not going to say it was created for me, but it was conveniently created, they made a new position up that was half-time in reference and half-time in the serials cataloging department. So I got to learn lots of different parts of libraries. So I got to work on the reference desk and I got to learn how to catalog serials and so I was learning all kinds of the backroom stuff, the tech services stuff and the forward patron facing part of it. So that was a really good experience for me.
That all kind of leads to your position now though, because now you manage all these operations and you got to work in all those little, all those positions.
Right, and then. And after I graduated because it’s, that was not a professional position, that was still a paraprofessional position, so that, I did that while I was in school and then when I graduated I went to another school and worked for a little while and I eventually realized, I’m not going to talk about that experience so that’s cool, but the [laughs], I eventually realized that I didn’t really like working in college.
Andrew, that was the secret.
That they, yeah, that’s the, that’s the secret that I’m not going to reveal on here, come have a drink with me and I’ll tell you that story. I realized I didn’t really, I very much enjoyed working at Emory, the school I worked at before, but I didn’t really like working in academic libraries, no offense, academic librarians.
No, I went through something very similar.
And so, and so I went out when I, in the job market again, I was, like, “Well, let me go apply.” The public library had a job opening and I thought, “Well,” in my local community. So I was already driving, we didn’t live anywhere near the, either, any college that I worked at, we didn’t live anywhere it, but our local, or the county where we lived, had a job opening in the public library and I thought, “Well, let me apply for that and see what it was.” And when it really came to me that I hadn’t really thought of it clearly probably until, until the interview I think is when it actually came to me. When they actually asked, at the end, why do you want this job? Because I was a little concerned, I was, I only have academic library experience, are going to hire an academic librarian for a public librarian job? But it came to me that the public library was a good intersection, that was the story that I wrote for you when we first met.
This story is probably familiar to you. That it was really the, it’s an intersection between the bookstore work and the academic library work, that this was public libraries, that’s, so I’m serving in the community, my local community more. I mean, nothing, no offense against helping students at a college, I mean that’s, that’s a special mission in itself, but this is helping my local community, it’s where I live, it’s helping my community do this.
And now I even have my, at my current branch I’m actually, in my daughter’s school is half a mile up from the branch where I’m at so it’s really nice that I’m right where I love being, at the branch where I’m at. I love the whole system but it’s really nice to be right where she is so I can go over and have lunch with her, she’s in kindergarten.
And, and “Intersection” was on Young Librarians Series, yeah, I remember that, that was awesome.
And that’s how Leah and I met, so. [laughs]
Yeah, that’s the background. [laughs] And that website is still active now.
Yes. So you can, you can go Google that, Young Librarians, probably my name and it will, it will, that one will probably come up.
Pops up, yeah, awesome.
So that’s the, that’s how I saw the public library then, that was my intersection of what I, what I liked, I mean, cause I did miss the, the bookstore world, cause there were parts of it that I really liked. I mean I liked working with people individually and finding the books that they want. In a bookstore it’s to find what they want so that you can sell it to them, but at the library it’s just to provide it to them, so it’s a much nicer community feeling.
It is, yeah. So, that’s our, those all of our questions from the contributors.
And my last question and I swear I’m not trying to get you to say me, is do you have any favorite interviews that you’ve done so far?
I win! No, for real, what’s some of, what are some of the interviews that have really stood out to you, or that you feel like have had some good feedback? And what are some of the interviews that we can look forward to seeing in the next year?
Well, some of the best ones. I’ll say Buffy number one, because not only, I mean, because she agreed to do the first one so that was obviously a big help, but it also helped set the tone of it. Because I really wasn’t sure how I was going really going to do it. I was thinking more along the lines of more, a lot more structured than it actually is. I was thinking I’ll write all the questions out, I’ll just read the questions and then they’ll answer the question, then we’ll move to the next question, then we’ll go on from that. But I liked it because she’s so nice and engaging that it really turned into more conversational thing and that’s what I like about it more. And so what, nobody asked about this but I’ll just tell it, what, the way I do it now is I just make a Google Doc of notes. It’s all, sometimes it’s a bit difficult thing, I’m trying to ask, I’ll write out a question that I want to ask specifically, but usually it’s just notes, just.
Like bullet points?
Yeah, just bullets points, topics.
Yeah, that’s what Mark Maron does for the WTF podcast, too.
So I just do that and then I just read off that and it’s not in any specific order, it’s in an order on there that I think might make sense, jumping from topic to topic, but if it, sometimes they start talking about something about else that’s related to another thing that I had down at the bottom and I’ll start talking about that. I mean I’ll just move it around on the page while I’m talking to them.
Does anything ever pop up that you’re, I mean, what catches you unprepared? Does anything? Or do you just try to roll with the punches so to speak?
Yeah, I just try to roll with it and if it’s something that they’re talking, that they get into that I hadn’t really asked about and they get into it but it sounds like a good topic, I’ll usually even type a note for myself real quick. ‘Cause while I’m talking to people I usually, I’m usually, I mute my end so they can’t hear anything, like they can’t hear me sipping my water, or typing or whatever. So I’ll just type the notes up real quick of my next question, I make sure to ask about this so they can get that too. That got really off topic though.
I know, I know.
So that was, so that was from Buffy. But that’s what, that’s what helped because for her I had a bunch of questions all written out, but it ended up, sorry, it ended up going where we were, where we jumped around a lot more than I had intended. So that, but I ended up liking that, so that worked out. And then, actually the next episode was I talked to the Unshelved guys after that and they’re so used to bantering back and forth that that was, I could barely keep up with them. [laughs]
So, but that, but that also helped too because it made it more loose and.
Set the tone, kind of?
Right, right, so those early ones were setting the tone. I’m very happy whenever David Lankes will come on because professionally…
We love you, David.
Yes, [laughs] So, I mean, I was very happy when he first came on and he’s come on again, he came on again to talk about a second book, he came on to talk about the MLS degree in general, which has tied Leah as the, oh no, no, no, this one brings you to four appearances.
Yes, take that! Excellent.
So, what, what are some of the people we can look forward to seeing?
Michael Stephens is a, he’s been on the list for a long time, I just never. The way I choose a guest is usually. Right, he’s busy whenever I’ve tried to do it, I tried to get him on the one where we were talking about the MLS too, but he was off on a conference or something too. So he’s been on my list for a long time.
He was my mentor.
Yeah, yeah. Tell him hi.
And I believe the Young Librarians series was hosted on his…
Yes, he hosted the Young Librarian series, he helped me form that idea into a tangible reality, cause I sent him this really long, rambling email that was, “I’m inspired,” and he was, “Okay, let’s focus.” [laughs]. So, that’s, he’s great, that’s, I’m excited for that too.
Who else? I want Jenny Levine on, but I’ve talked to other people who are like, “She’s hard to pin down, she doesn’t want to do it.” So…
Oh, she’s awesome.
I know, she’s awesome, but she doesn’t like to talk about her stuff I guess. So it’s more.
Oh, she’s modest, oh okay.
Yes, so we’ll see. I, she’s, we’ve had conversations that that might happen some time.
Just go talk to her and just hide a recorder [laughs].
Yes, have a nice conversation, “Oh, by the way I recorded this, bye.”
Meredith Farkas, she was on an episode recently, the, Kate Sheehan guest hosted for me while I was doing the Kickstarter, I had a couple of people come and do guest hosting episodes for me and that was very helpful to give me time off to work on the Kickstarter because that was very time consuming. But I would like Meredith to come on. Actually I would like everybody on those episodes to come on to do their, do their own episode. Meredith is somebody like Michael who’s been on the list since I made the list originally way back when. So….
Let’s talk briefly before, before we end about the experience of the Kickstarter. So something I noticed. After the Kickstarter is, you were almost apologetic about how little, or I guess not about how little the money was, but about what you could get with the money that was raised because of fees, or taxes, could you talk a little bit about that experience was like? Did it meet your expectations? Would you use Kickstarter again? Just for other people, especially other libraries that I think are looking at it as a fundraising resource. What was your experience like?
Yeah, I mean, it was overall a positive experience and you can go on now, Jason Griffey is doing one for his LibraryBox project, so you can go, if this episode comes out in time, you can go back his product as well. I mean I would use it again if I had a good, cause you really need to have a really solid idea and a really solid product that you’re trying to do. And so I don’t know what I would do exactly to do a Kickstarter again, but if I came up with a good, I mean, because this, I’ve upgraded all my equipment now, so it’s, well I guess once this becomes obsolete I can upgrade again [laughs] someday. But I don’t want to just say, “Well, everybody give me money for no reason.”
But it was, it was overall a good experience. I mean there’s other, there’s other crowdsourcing sites like IndieGoGo that they do take a little bit less of a cut.
I mean Kickstarter, it’s not a huge cut, but you have to cut them in and then Amazon processes the payments so they take a cut and so, and then it’s hard cause you have to pay taxes on it, as if it’s income, so I have, so I have to, I mean it’s a, it’s estimated taxes at this point so I just had to figure out I guess I raised almost $3,000 so I just have to figure out if I got paid $3,000 more how much would I. I looked at some tax tables and figured it out and I think I figured it out right. I was very conservative with my estimate to make sure I had enough and I figure if it’s less than that, then I’ll buy something else for the podcast with the money at that point. But it was overall a good experience. I mean that, that was a little disappointing when you get the spreadsheet up and minus all of that stuff out, it’s , “Oh, I don’t have…”
“…quite as much to spend as I wanted.” Cause not only that, but when you’re buying, for all the rewards people could get and the t-shirts, all that kind of stuff, you had pay for that and you had to subtract all that out to pay for all that, then I had to think, everybody that I don’t see at ALA, I have to ship it to them so I have to pay to ship it to them. Once you just start x-ing all that stuff out, then you only have so much money to actually spend. I mean I, I had, I got everything that I wanted out of the Kickstarter. I had, I actually ended up planning pretty well I think because I got basically everything that I wanted, so I, I had, some of the costs were a little more than I thought, but I had given myself some wiggle room and I actually raised more, a little more, well I raised a lot more than I thought I was going to, cause I didn’t, I was not expecting to raise, I thought I would eventually, it was a $2,000 goal. I thought I would eventually get that, but I, it was in the first couple of days I think that it got up there and so I was surprised at how quickly it did that.
Yeah, I mean it went, it was, it was so exciting to watch. It was like wildfire, it was really fun. I was…
And then, and then I, and on Kickstarter you can see, they have the little graph that shows you, so you can see how it’s going up and then after it got to the goal and that’s just normal with Kickstarter, that it plateaus a little bit and then it, so at a certain point you get that initial surge and then you plateau. But it’s kept going up, a little bit here and there, somebody would make a donation and then it would, I raised another thousand past the initial goal, so yeah, no, I was pleased with it and I was pleased with the response I got because I. Again, with the, with the stats being so shaky, I’m not ever really sure. I mean I know there are people who listen to it, but it’s, like, “Well do I have enough people listening to it? Or who are passionate enough about it that they’ll actually give me money to do it?” [laughs] Cause it’s like the, the whole thing with the internet is that, well everything’s free so I don’t have to do anything. So, but no, everybody was very nice and supportive.
It’s funny I feel like there’s actually this shift right now, of people who, and it’s almost I feel like an anti-corporate kind of movement where we do want to pay people for what they’re doing so well on sometimes very small scales. And I feel like it’s a part of the maker movement and the DIY movement, it’s all this feeling that these people deserve to be rewarded for that blog that I read every day, or that podcast that we all know that you spend of time on, that we all really appreciate. So, thank you on behalf of your listeners, you’re the bomb! We love you, Steve. Thank you for creating the podcast and we’re really excited about the Kickstarter going through.
Thank you very much.