Raise your hand if you’ve been asked for a book recommendation because you’re a librarian.
I’ve been in the car a lot this summer, and audio books are a real commitment. Do I want to devote 12 hours to learning about presidential assassinations ? Or trends in education? The gender pay gap? Podcasts have filled the gap for me for nonfiction, letting me learn an hour’s worth of information, without the commitment of an audiobook. They’re perfect for shorter roadtrips, bike rides around the neighborhood, and dinner preparation time.
Last month, I wrote about professional books, and here are some of my favorite podcasts. The ones that aren’t, you know, well-known on NPR…
5. Slate’s Working
Summary: Slate interviews Americans about their jobs and what they do all day. It’s a polished conversation that often answers specific questions about the details of day-to-day life for professions ranging from zumba instructor to used book seller.
Best For: Nosy workaholics
Started: Fall 2014
Average Length: 25 minutes
Sample Episode: What does a principal do all day?
- American Libraries’ Dewey Decibel
Summary: ALA introduced this podcast recently to educate people on the world of libraries today. As a young podcast, it’s still getting its footing though it’s been interesting to learn about the field of librarianship outside of schools.
Started: Spring 2016
Best For: practical librarians
Average Length: 30 minutes, monthly
Sample Episode: There are only three; you can easily catch up.
Summary: Co-hosted show by journalist-foodies with expert interviews that discuss the history, culture, and science of food. Topics vary from ice cream to food packaging.
Best For: sciencey foodies
Started: Fall 2014
Average Length: 20-40 minutes, every two weeks
Sample Episode: The United States of Chinese Food
- Good Job, Brain
Summary: Started through Kickstarter from a pub trivia team, this podcast covers pop culture, trivia, and the all-encompassing interests of the four co-hosts. Every fifth show is an all-quiz show.
Best For: unabashed nerds
Started: Winter 2011
Average Length: 45 minutes, weekly
Sample Episode: Eggsellect (Because this show refers to current events, I’d start with a relatively recent one.)
- 99% Invisible (99pi)
Summary: I would listen to this podcast just to hear host Roman Mars’ voice. But, on a content level, it “exposes the unseen and overlooked aspects of design, architecture, and activity in the world.” Have you wondered about water fountains, ice production, or tall skyscrapers?
Best For: curious city-lovers
Started: Fall 2010, weekly
Average Length: 15-25 minutes
Sample Episode: Atmospherians (Straight out of Central Casting)
I have a 16 hour drive to Florida coming up. Please make my drive feel faster, and happy listening.