As podcasts rise in popularity, several industries have discovered the benefits of participating in the insightful and engaging platform. While some focus on entertainment and comedy, other podcasts focus on education. In a time when in-person lectures are not always an option, these educational podcasts offer professors the opportunity to create lecture-based content that is easily accessible and filled with real-life experience. With these factors in mind, The Skillset Podcast was formed.
The Skillset Podcast is hosted by the University of South Carolina’s own David Lankes and Nicole Cooke. It was launched and formed in collaboration with Publishers Weekly, where Cooke is a regular columnist. Lankes and Cooke both hold prominent roles in the School of Information Science — Lankes as director and Cooke as Augusta Baker Chair. The podcast was created with the intention of educating graduate students who are working toward becoming librarians on how best they can serve the public and make connections within their communities.
“We devised the idea of having these interviews with thought- leaders and directors in the field and then turning those conversations into lectures for our class,” Lankes said.
To combat the learning structures that have been restricted by COVID-19, they found a way to give students a resource that can offer them the knowledge they need to excel in their field. The weekly podcast focuses on bringing to light the multidimensional issues that libraries and other institutions are facing during a time of uncertainty.
“We have the pleasure of chatting with some of the top LIS professionals and creatives in the field,” Cooke said. “These are people who ‘walk the walk’ and are having hard conversations and initiating the programs that move the library and information profession forward.”
The first episode of the podcast features Tamara King, head of community engagement at Richland Library. The interview is focused on the “Let’s Talk” program, which has encouraged many Richland County residents to engage in honest and dynamic conversations about race.
The university’s collaboration with Publishers Weekly has not only opened the doors for insightful conversations about librarianship, but it has also created a powerful partnership between two very influential forces.