A year of the Librarians with Lives Podcast

Librarians with Lives in numbers:

[from 3rd September 2017 to 25th July 2018 am]

35 episodes released (plus the CILIP Conference Special)

72 people interviewed

9,928 plays

Top 5 most listened to episodes:

  1. Nick Poole
  2. Helen Berry
  3. CILIP Conference 2018 special
  4. Katherine Burchell
  5. Jane Secker

50+ (the Soundcloud stats stop at 50) countries in which the podcast has been listened to

The top 10 are:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. USA
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Ireland
  7. Canada
  8. Sweden
  9. Japan
  10. Spain

10 things I have learned:

  1. How to spot who has enough ‘voice’ and personality to sustain an episode
  2. Once you get (most) people talking about themselves, it’s virtually impossible to stop them
  3. Being bold but polite gets results.
  4. People will complain about things that never occurred to you
  5. Social media personas can be extremely amplified versions of someone’s actual personality.
  6. Some people are *exactly* the same in real life as they are online.
  7. Everyone hates the sound of their own voice. Nobody has a bad voice.
  8. Occasionally, interviewees will drive you mad by not promoting, or mentioning to anyone, their own episode of the podcast when it’s released.
  9. Don’t go looking for the dissenting voices. If you’re *really* lucky they will a. Make themselves obvious and/or b. People will tell you about them. Honestly, I and/or LwL are not worth your hate.
  10. The Librarians with Lives alumni I have gone on to meet in real life have, without exception, been absolutely lovely.

27 Unexpected consequences…

…or things that wouldn’t have happened if the podcast didn’t exist:


  1. Co-delivering a workshop on networking at the CILIP Careers Day in April with someone I interviewed for the podcast, who I hadn’t met in real life until the morning of the workshop
  2. Subsequently co-delivering that workshop at the CILIP Conference in Brighton in July
  3. …and being asked to co-deliver it again at the CILIP New Professionals Day in October
  4. …and at a CILIP in London event in November
  5. Seeing the Welcome Zone at the CILIP Conference and thinking ‘I helped to affect that change’.
  6. Going back to Aberystwyth, 12 years after I finished my distance learning ILS qualification there, to deliver a plenary presentation about mental health, podcasting and resilience at the CILIP Cymru Wales Conference in May
  7. Standing up and telling 100+ people, most of whom had no idea who I was, about my mental health (see no. 5.)
  8. …and being asked to deliver a similar talk at a CILIP Scotland event in October.
  9. Recording an episode of Librarians with Lives at the CILIP Conference, where I interviewed 40 people, many of whom I had never met before and turning it into something coherent
  10. Submitting a very speculative proposal to speak at the forthcoming ILI Conference in October and for it to become a break-out session called Live, Love, Librarian!

In print

  1. Appearing in three consecutive issues of Information Professional magazine in 2018 (sorry…):
  • 60 seconds with…
  • Revalidation and CILIP Cymru Wales conference mentions
  • Networking article with Mike and being mentioned in Nick Poole’s editorial
  1. Writing an article for MMiT about the tech behind the podcast
  2. Being interviewed for a journal article about my experiences of being involved with a professional body
  3. Being interviewed for a case study for a forthcoming book on management

Professional development

  1. Gaining two Chartership mentees
  2. …and a Fellowship mentor

Fun stuff

  1. #Libraruns
  2. Hacking a shop-bought Guess Who game and turning it into a special Librarians with Lives edition for the networking workshop
  3. Hosting a Christmas Special of the podcast featuring previous guests and keeping it (mostly) in order
  4. Getting to see the inner workings of CILIP HQ (small, mostly open plan, desks, people) [Spoiler 1: it’s not Narnia. Spoiler 2: everyone I’ve met from CILIP is lovely]
  1. Being asked to guest on a community radio show
  2. Being asked to voice a small role on a comedy sketch podcast
  3. The Love Island DM group
  4. The Queer Eye DM group
  5. Chess: the musical with Clare “Wasn’t it good? OH SO GOOD” “Wasn’t he fine? OH SO FIIIIIINNNNNNEEEEEE” etc.
  6. Becoming (very) mildly ‘Library Famous’.
  7. Making new Library Friends who are now Actual Friends

2 negative things

  1. I have severe writers’ block with my Fellowship portfolio. If I could record me speaking about it, I could probably submit it. I firmly believe that I *will* be able to write and submit a successful application at some stage, but I’m not *yet* ready or able to do so.
  2. I probably won’t ever write my Mills & Boon ‘Love in a library’ bestselling novel now…

1 sad thing

I can’t believe it will ever be as good as this again. To watch something that I started as a tiny little CPD project grow into an actual podcast with listeners across the world and from different sectors of the information profession is mind-blowing.

…and finally…

Thank you to everyone that has taken part, listened to, promoted, and contributed to the Podcast in some way over the last year. There are too many of you to thank individually but it takes a village small city to make a podcast successful and I’m incredibly grateful. This is the greatest CPD thing I have done, and will ever do, and I’m already looking forward to the next LwL Podcast season.

LwL will be back on 4th September after a little summer holiday.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Queer Eye.


5 thoughts on “A year of the Librarians with Lives Podcast

  1. Perhaps the Hail Fellow Well Met event will help with the writing block. Very chuffed to be number 2 in the list – no chance of ever overtaking Nick.

    From: Librarians with Lives To: heberry@btinternet.com Sent: Wednesday, 25 July 2018, 9:09 Subject: [New post] A year of the Librarians with Lives Podcast #yiv8930948617 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8930948617 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8930948617 a.yiv8930948617primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8930948617 a.yiv8930948617primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8930948617 a.yiv8930948617primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8930948617 a.yiv8930948617primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8930948617 WordPress.com | Jo Wood posted: “Librarians with Lives in numbers: [from 3rd September 2017 to 25th July 2018 am]35 episodes released (plus the CILIP Conference Special)72 people interviewed9,928 playsTop 5 most listened to episodes: Nick Poole Helen Berry CILIP Conference ” | |

    • Thanks Helen – you’re the LwL pioneer! You let me interview you back when I didn’t know what on earth I was doing and I’m so grateful. I’m not sure that anyone will catch Nick, unless I get someone uber-famous on one day…

  2. If you’ve got writer’s block with your portfolio, why don’t you do what you suggest and record yourself talking about it? Then play it back and transcribe your talk into notes. It will obviously need adding to, revising, etc. but it might give you that start you need to get something on paper.

  3. Have you asked if you could submit your Fellowship application as an audio file (at least the statement bit)? What can be the harm in asking? Alternatively, could a transcript of a recording be the starting point you need?

    Also, I’m loving the podcast. I only discovered it in late June in the CILIP Conference advertising, so I’ve only got as far as episode 8 at the moment, but I’m working my way through them. So useful to have a CPD thing in podcast format – I can listen to them on my train/walking commute when reading would either be inappropriate (when walking and needing to look where I’m going) or when my eyes are too tired at the end of the day to want to look at a screen, but I have the mental energy to listen and engage. The only problem I’m having at the moment is capturing the thoughts I have while listening. By the next day (or even by the time I get to the office!) I’ve probably forgotten most of them so they never get acted on. Still thinking about how to combat that 🤔

  4. Thanks Lizzie! It was lovely to meet you at the conference. I’m really glad you’re enjoying the podcast. I apologise in advance for how depressing my episode is, but it has a happy ending…

    My friend is going to record me talking about Fellowship, so that I have something to base the write-up on. If that fails I’m going to ask CILIP if I can submit something in audio format. I just need to find time (and headspace) to work on it and at the moment I have neither. I’ll get there!

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