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podcasts

Apr 28 2010

Are You an Open Book?

by Jimmy L

Have you ever said “I’m an open book”?  Well, for some, it isn’t just a saying.  A few people in Denmark have started a movement known as The Human Library.  Basically, these are organized events where people get to “check out” some books.  The only catch is that the books in this case are actually people.  These books/people converse and answer questions about their lives in an attempt to foster understanding and get beyond stereotypes.  I think the following video was made in the UK (thus the British accents), but it gives a good explanation:

What do you think of this idea?  The DeKalb County Public Library is not organizing a Human Library, but we thought the idea was kind of neat.  However, if you are interested in telling your story, we are organizing a series of StoryCorps style interviews called DeKalb Recorded History – Share Your Story (click for more details).  Please note that this program is geared towards seniors.

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Feb 17 2010

Podcasting + Short Stories = ?

by Jimmy L

As you might remember from my podcasting blog post from a few months ago, I’m a huge fan of podcasts!  Recently I’ve also become a huge fan of short stories.  I don’t know why they are not more popular.  Think about it: people have less time than ever,  they are constantly on the move, and with so much to read and do, who has time to finish a tome like this one or this other one.  What a better format than a 20 page short story that you can read at the bus stop?  Better yet, a 20 minute short story you can listen to while working out?  I think the combination of podcasts and short stories is up there in the list of genius combinations with rice and beans, Romeo and Juliet, and jeans and t-shirts.  So without further ado, here are some of my favorite free short story podcasts:

Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast

Miette reads both classic and contemporary short stories in her soothing English accent.  This is one of my favorite podcasts, and true to its name, I’ve fallen asleep many times while listening (though sometimes the stories gives me weird dreams).  The best part about this podcast is that all the stories are handpicked by Miette herself, who has unpredictably quirky but excellent taste.

The New Yorker Fiction Podcast

Every month in this podcast they ask one short story writer to pick and read any story from The New Yorker archives that has influenced them or that they just really enjoy.  Afterwards, the writer talks about the story with fiction editor, Deborah Treisman.  It’s interesting to see what stories different writers pick.  For instance, I thought it was surprising that George Saunders chose Isaac Babel’s short story “You Must Know Everything,”  (which was one of my favorite stories in this whole series, and introduced me to a great writer).

PRI: Selected Shorts Podcast

This podcast gets professional actors to read short stories in front of  a studio audience.  Each episode follows a theme for an hour, and usually contains 3 or 4 short stories.  The performances are top-notch and really draw you in.

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Apr 16 2009

What’s Podcasting?

by Jimmy L

podcastingIf you haven’t noticed yet, the library now has a podcasting page, where you can listen, download, and subscribe to our Musical Bookings podcasts and our Author Talk podcasts.  Podcasts, as you may or may not know, are basically audio (sometimes video) “shows” that are available on the internet.  Think of it like a radio show, except you listen to it on either your computer or portable MP3 device.  In fact, many radio shows are available as podcasts, including NPR’s This American Life, Car Talk, and Fresh Air.

But because anybody with a mic and a computer can make a podcast, you don’t have to be Terry Gross to have a  show on the internet.  This has resulted in podcasts that focus in on many special niche interests that would never survive on normal radio, shows like Imprint (a show dedicated to the Twilight series), GolfBetter (dedicated to golf), and Manic Mommies (about motherhood).

I’m ashamed to admit that before last week, I had barely listened to any podcasts.  I imagined badly produced shows featuring 14 year old hosts talking about World of Warcraft (no offense).  But because I was in charge of helping coordinate the library’s podcasts, I decided to look around and see what was out there already.  Now I’m totally hooked!  There are many good podcasts.  After the jump, I’ll highlight three that I absolutely love.  Then I’ll give you a few technical tips on how to get started.

[read the rest of this post…]

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Love the Library’s eAudiobook service but have an iPod?  Unfortunately, there are currently no vendors offering downloadable audiobooks to libraries using Apple’s digital rights management format, but there are a few free options available for you on the Internet.

LibriVox is a volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.  LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then “release” the audio files back onto the net.

Classic Poetry Aloud provides podcasts of, well, classic poetry.  If it’s Shakespeare, Pope, Keats, and Shelley you’re looking for, this is the place.

Podiobooks Listeners to Podiobooks.com can choose to receive the episodes of their books via an RSS feed or by listening to episodes by directly downloading episodes from the site.  The site is free, but donations are accepted to compensate authors, who permit their works to be available on the site.

openculture is a site that collects podcasts, videos, and online courses that are freely available on the web, and claims to “sift through all the media, highlight the good and jettison the bad, and centralize it in one place.”  The link provided here takes you directly to their audiobook collection.

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