March 30, 2007

Expand Your Library’s Collection with Podcasts

Are you looking for a way to expand your library’s collection without using up more shelf space or spending more money? Consider directing your patrons to podcasts! Podcasts can be wonderful "additions" to your library's collection.

You might be asking yourself, “Why podcasts? We have plenty of audio materials here for people to listen to.” Why not? Podcasts might fill a gap in your collection and, best of all, they're free! Podcasts can help you learn a foreign language, allow you to listen to a museum tour (for an upcoming trip!), or help you learn a new skill. Listen to one of the podcasts below and see what you think!

It is realistic to think that many of your iPod or MP3 – carrying patrons already have a favorite podcatcher (like iTunes or Odeo), but what about people who haven’t invested in players and don’t want to deal with downloading special podcatching software? Luckily, there are some very simple solutions for finding and listening to an occasional podcast from a computer.

The following sites offer two ways to locate podcasts: by keyword searching or by browsing a directory. Each site allows registered users to rate, tag, and review episodes, as well as subscribe to the podcast series.

Yahoo! Podcasts

Of the services mentioned above, Yahoo offers the simplest and most intuitive interface; I recommend that beginners start with Yahoo.

Try out one of the following podcasts. Click on the "play" button or "listen" to hear the audio.

Learn Spanish with Coffee Break Spanish
Travel with Rick Steves
Learn Grammar with Grammar Girl
An audio tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum (London)

Please note: Although these services do not require special podcatching software to play a podcast, they do require software to download the file and transfer the audio to your MP3 player or iPod.