These podcasts are treats for your ears

Special thanks to Library staff member Anna, for the following post.


For those of us feeling bereft without library access, here are some podcasts that can vicariously bring us back into the library or teach us a little something new. 

This American Life is a mainstay of American radio. Episode #664 The Room of Requirement tells the story of three people going to the library and finding exactly what they need. The first story is stunning, featuring a very special library that provides a way to reunite families torn apart by US politics. 

From the 2016 Third Coast International festival comes the shortdoc Two Libraries, whose producer eavesdropped on what seems to be a smidge of organized crime happening in New Jersey’s own Montclair Public Library. 

A vintage 2012 Snap Judgement episode on libraries provides a brilliantly produced mix of tales: kids taking out books of hypnosis, librarians stealthily trying to support a very secretive reader, and a whole host of other stories and sound samples.

The Kitchen Sisters present “stories from the b-side of history.” The episode The Dark Side of the Dewey Decimal System investigates how Melvil Dewey’s racism and misogyny influenced the cataloging system used nationwide today, and how some college students are trying to break from that legacy.

Audio Interference features the work of activists and in Radical Access they interview four librarians working for the homeless, for the incarcerated, for feminists, and for those seeking counter-culture zines. 

99% Invisible is a popular design podcast and the subject of Palaces for the People is social infrastructure. The interviewee, Eric Klinenberg, is a social scientist who has traveled across the United States visiting libraries and charting the various, often spectacular ways they serve their communities. If you have any appreciation for library programs, for things like ESL courses or makerspace hours, this episode will warm your heart.

The New Books Network hosts interviews with authors on a truly staggering variety of topics. Their interview with Benjamin Balint on Jerusalem: City of the Book discusses libraries centuries older than most nations and completely different in function than the libraries we have here. 

If you’re craving a podcast not about libraries but run by one, I’d recommend looking into The New York Public Library. Currently they host the energetic The Librarian Is In, which has in-depth book discussions and guest interviews, and Library Talks, which hosts author interviews and various panels (their episode on the history of the queer press is a keeper). If regular literary podcasts don’t have enough rock n roll for your tastes, then you need Lost in the Stacks, a podcast from Georgia Tech Library that interposes songs in its literary discussions. 

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