Keeping TABs: a teen-led passion project

As the teen services librarian, when several of our Teen Advisory Board members approached me during the 2020 lockdown wanting to start a podcast interviewing their favorite authors, my initial response was, “Let’s do it!” After saying, yes, the realization that I had no idea what it took to run a podcast or edit one quickly sunk in. 

Instead of frantically trying to figure everything out, I saw this as an opportunity for our teens to take the initiative in researching how to not only run a podcast but edit and market one. They came up with the name “Keeping TABs,” which is a play on our Teen Advisory Board (TAB) name. They worked diligently on emailing authors and publicists, most of the time receiving no response. Despite this, they pushed through, and little by little, they began to book authors. Their passion for reading and understanding the creative writing process is what drove them to successfully create 13 episodes with Megan McCafferty, Nicola YoonMaureen Johnson, and more.

We had basic tech tools for creating the podcast. Other than occasionally purchasing a title for the YA collection and staff time, the podcast cost nothing to run or maintain. Podcasting tools used include: 

  • Google Meet – To record author interviews. 
  • Microphones – Not every computer records audio the same, so using microphones helps. 
  • iMovie – Using iMovie to edit audio and video clips. 
  • Spotify  – Uploading episodes to Anchor automatically uploads to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Amazon Podcasts. 
  • Instagram – Using our established Instagram account to promote new episodes. 

For those looking to start their own podcast check out our computer media or smartphone media kit next time you’re in the library. 

The teens who founded the podcast have now graduated but have left the infrastructure to continue building on what they started. They’re just as passionate as ever about the podcast post-graduation, checking in on how it is doing. Not only have they thanked us profusely for allowing them to create the podcast, but their parents have reached out to thank us for allowing them the opportunity to build something they were so passionate about. Through this, they learned communication skills, perseverance, organizational skills, video editing, social media marketing, and have read dozens of books. One teen has gone as far as to attribute their involvement in the podcast to helping them get into college. 

Passionate projects like the Keeping TABs podcast are a great example of how public libraries can foster a love of reading, encourage unique projects, build teen engagement, and support technology and research literacy skills. 

Listen to all of the Keeping TABs podcast episodes on Spotify, Google Podcast or Apple Podcast

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

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