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Do you have a story to share? Record a podcast at the New West library

New Westminster Public Library launches new free podcast service

If you’ve dreamed of sharing stories and ideas through a podcast, you’ll want to tune in to the latest offering at the New Westminster Public Library.

Beginning May 17, the library is launching a new podcast recording service that will make it possible for community members to record and share their own stories and ideas through podcasts. Folks will be able to access equipment, make use of a newly modified ‘recording room’, and produce their own podcasts in the main branch of the library – for free.

“We are always surveying the land and seeing what people are doing. Podcasting has just exploded through the pandemic,” said Liz Hunter, a digital learning librarian. “People are consuming podcasts at a phenomenal rate now. Even though they’ve been around for years and years, they’ve just taken off incredibly.”

According to the NWPL, more than eight million Canadians enjoy a host of podcast on topics including comedy, local issues, politics, true crime, and health and fitness.

“As a library we want to make sure that we reflect the times we are in and ensure that emerging technology and services are made available to our community – especially those who may not otherwise have access,” said chief librarian Jorge Cardenas. “Libraries are not just about warehousing stories, but also about creating and sharing them in new and original ways. Podcasting is a great example of that.”

In preparation for the launch of the podcasting service, the library has created a number of podcast kits containing microphones, cables and hardware, as well as a set of how-to guides to help get people started.

The library has also modified the second floor Gallery Room with noise-reduction and sound-baffling features to help optimize the recording experience. The recording space can be booked ahead of time and can accommodate recording of up to four individuals at a time.

Podcasts are often created by people who are knowledgeable or passionate about a certain topic, have a great story or a series of stories they want to share, or are interested in learning about something they don’t know much about and can interview people on that topic, Hunter said.

“It can be a chit chat. It can be a fireside chat. It can be a weekly rant. It can be interview-based, it can be storytelling. It can be a solo. There’s so much that people can do,” she said. “How I explain to people what a podcast is is it’s a pre-recorded radio show that you can listen to anytime you want. It basically takes the same format.”

Last spring, the library hosted a three-part Podcasting 101 series, which featured a variety of speakers on the topic.

“There was quite a bit of interest in the podcasting 101 series,” Hunter said. “And we thought, well, if we’re going to generate all that interest, then we had better get some equipment in here and get some facility space dedicated to this and be ready to let our community come in and be able to tell their stories and have fun with it.”

Since January 2023, the library has been running a monthly podcast meetup, where community members generate ideas and share the latest in podcasting tips and tricks.

“We’ve gotten help from a couple of very experienced people in the community who have just been coming in and lending a hand and being part of the conversation, and they’ve been assisting people who come to the drop-in, people that don’t know anything about equipment, don’t know anything about anything, but have a story to tell,” Hunter said. “And we had quite a few people come in with really interesting concepts.”

Hunter said “the trick” with podcasts is for people to formulate their idea – to sort out what they’re going to talk about, when they’re going to talk about it, and decide if it will be a limited series or ongoing. While it requires “quite a commitment”– every hour of podcast conversation that’s recorded usually requires three to six hours of editing – to make a podcast, she said it’s worth the effort.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a super, super time.”

Given the richness of the community of New Westminster, Hunter is confident there are many topics that local residents might want to bring to light and to tell a story around.

“Feeling shy, feeling intimidated? Don’t let that stop you,” she said. “Come on in and we’ll show you just how easy this can be – to be fun, and be creative, and get your stories and your ideas out there.”

With the launch of this service, the New Westminster Public Library is looking forward to offering more programs designed to help community members learn to create their own podcasts from conception to broadcast.

Anyone wanting more information about podcasting at NWPL can contact the library at 604-527-4665, email [email protected] or check out the website at