AUSTIN (KXAN) — After years of operating as a radio show, the Austin Public Library has revamped “APL Volumes” as a podcast that will dive into different topics and themes each season.
APL Librarian Maddy Newquist hosts the podcast. Season 1’s first episode premiered March 6, with new episodes set to be released every other week.
Season 1 delves into horror, discussing books and accompanying media that have defined the genre. Newquist told KXAN she first conceived the idea last May when she wanted to expand her knowledge on the genre.
APL offers a personal picks service, where visitors can ask for recommendations and staff compile a list of books, movies or podcasts based on those keywords.
“When a librarian has a blind spot…we do something called genre studies where we look at what we do, we look at some genres, and we kind of pick one or two books within each and we look at that as a way to kind of get a foothold or handhold in each of these genres that we don’t know about,” she said.
From there, she explored horror classics like “The Shining” and “John Dies at the End,” along with highlighting titles from non-white, queer and non-English speaking authors.
“It’s been great to offer a podcast, which is a medium that so many more people every day are enjoying, and have our reach to them expand just as our collection is expanding,” she said.
She said the podcast has also been able to marry things trending in the literature world on social media to the content it features. On BookTok — the literary side of TikTok — Argentine author Agustina Bazterrica’s “Tender is the Flesh” became a popular read for horror enthusiasts.
It’s a title Newquist said “APL Volumes” incorporated into season 1’s analyses.
Right now, staff members are working on planning out the next couple of podcasts. But one thing Newquist said is the podcast won’t always focus on books: she said she wants it to also utilize other resources the library offers, such as board games, cooking or other passion projects staff can deliver on.
“We just want to promote our staff and their amazing passions and how that feeds into what we already offer at the library,” she added.