Are you a library staff member responsible for purchasing teen materials for your collection? If so, I encourage you to include listening to podcasts about teen literature and other teen media as part of your research into what to buy. In addition to tools such as collection analysis, surveys of your teen user population and media reviews, podcasts produced by those who have a passion for teen materials are a truly valuable resource. Podcasts also have the advantage of fitting easily into a busy schedule — you can listen while you eat lunch, walk or do things around the house…or just eat again…dessert?
In my research for this post, I sampled several podcasts dedicated to teen literature. Finding teen literature-focused podcasts was the main object of my search, although a couple of the podcasts which I will recommend do include discussion of other media. My main criteria for selecting a podcast to recommend were that it be currently active, largely focused on teen literature/media and hosted by someone with a background in teen literature/media (and ideally some experience working in teen library services or teaching).
The following is just a sampling of all the great teen literature podcasts out there—a place to start your listening. If you find that you enjoy a particular podcast, do provide feedback to its hosts to encourage them to continue their work! I also hope that you will add your own favorite teen literature or other media podcasts in the comments area of this post.
For each of the podcasts below, I have included a link to its accompanying Web site or blog. On each site or blog you will find links to podcast episodes as well as an indication regarding recommended listening apps to use.
This is a very new podcast, the first episode of which was released on July 7, 2015. It is cohosted by Kristin Treviño, Teen Services Librarian at the Irving Public Library system in Texas, and another adult teen literature lover who identifies herself as “Sarah” in the first episode (their “About Us” page is still under construction). Kristin orders all the young adult fiction for her library system and is the principal organizer of the hugely popular new North Texas Teen Book Festival. The Adventures in YA podcast focuses on teen literature that the cohosts love and recommend, as well as new releases. A fun, insightful and promising start.
This British podcast is cohosted by Rob Chilver and Kate Neilan. Rob works for Waterstones.com, a major British book retailer, but notes that his views expressed on the podcast and accompanying blog are purely his own. Kate is a former secondary school teacher. In the YA Edition — a monthly feature of the larger Adventures with Words podcast which began approximately three years ago – Rob and Kate focus on teen literature, but also discuss graphic novels, music, TV and music. This is a great resource to hear about British young adult releases, possibly before they hit the American market. They also discuss many American titles.
This podcast, with an impressive start date of Oct. 2010, is cohosted and produced by Richard Brookman, Jr., director of the Kearny County Library in Kansas. He has several regular cohosts, but I wanted to highlight the delightful fact that three of these cohosts include his wife, Michelle, and his teenage children, April and Logan. The mix of ages and genders among the many cohosts provides a well-rounded perspective on the topics that they discuss, namely manga, anime and animation, comic books, graphic novels, movies, music and videogames. They discuss both YA and adult materials.
Infopeople provides training on behalf of the California State Library and sponsors this twice-monthly podcast produced by Donna Mettier, Technical Services Manager of the Marin County Free Library in California. It is cohosted by the California-based team of Jack Baur, Teen Services Librarian at the Berkeley Public Library and Amanda Jacobs Foust, the Eureka! Fellow Coordinator and Consultant for Infopeople, who also has a background in teen librarianship and literature. The podcast, which covers teen, children’s and adult graphic novels, manga and comic books and is now in its second year, has interviewed several artists and writers, provided annual “best of” and other themed book lists and discussed comics conferences, among other topics.
Infopeople also sponsors Michael Cart’s very informative podcasts about young adult literature. Cart is the former director of the Beverly Hills Public Library and past President of YALSA. He is also an author himself and nationally recognized expert in young adult literature. If you need a thoughtfully assembled book list on a teen literature theme, concisely and also honestly presented, Cart is your podcaster. His recent podcasts have covered banned books, adult books for teens and LGBTQ literature, but this is just a sampling of the themes of his YA podcast episodes, which appear every 1 to 2 months.
This podcast discusses banned books, many of them written for young adults. Founded by a librarian in 2011, there is a wealth of resources in the archives.
This Publisher’s Weekly podcast features interviews of both children’s and YA authors by children’s review editor John A. Sellers. New episodes are added weekly. Authors range from debuts, like Virginia Boecker, to award winners, like Rebecca Stead.
YA literature author Sara Zarr interviews other authors, primarily also of YA literature. Recent guests include Jennifer E. Smith and Gayle Forman.
Again, please add your suggestions of additional podcasts in the comments!
– Anna Dalin, currently reading The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Joshua Hanagarne