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Production: Original Library Productions

When you can't find commercial materials that fit your needs, create your own! Audio and video production has become a fun and easy way to record experiences, chronicle events, and archive materials.

Libraries like New York Public Library publish both audio and video.

quiltingWhether you've got a large or small collection, there may be times that you'd like to produce your own audio and video materials. Oral history collections, children's poetry projects, and local tribal dance videos are a few examples of locally produced projects that may be added to the library collection.

Anytime you're holding a program, think about the audio and video production possibilities. Could the quilting club share their favorite books, demonstrate a quilting technique, or talk about antique quilts? These would all make great podcasts or video program topics you could share.

A number of people may be involved in the design and development of media materials. For instance, the local historical society may have collected hours of oral history that need to be edited into short segments to be placed online. The second graders may need help learning to record their voice using PowerPoint. You might even create your own production if you get the opportunity to watch a local historical dancer or listen to a local scientist.

There are many good reasons for producing your own videos. For example, many health professionasl find that commercial videos can't keep up-to-date with the need for quality training materials. In many cases, there's not a large enough demand to hire a professional production company, so a local production makes sense.

Before you commit to any kind of production be sure that you have the time and resources. First, audio and video productions can be time-consuming if you do all the design and development work yourself. Second, before you commit to a project, be certain that you'll be able to get media releases and/or copyright permissions if needed.

Read Embedded Videographers (November 23, 2015). Public Libraries Online.
Develop a plan for catching your library activities one video.

Library Settings: Video


Production activities vary depending on the library setting. Let's explore the types of media that might be produced in each setting.

Academic Libraries

The productions of academic libraries include activities related to teaching and learning, scholarship, and library management.

Think about all the ways that video can be used in learning in libraries. For example Wikipedia: Beneath the Surface is a short instructional video discussing the use of Wikipedia.

Watch videos from academic libraries such as University of Michigan-Flint's tutorials. What goes into an effective online tutorial?

Explore some library videos:

Also, look at special collections at universities.

School Libraries

From reading promotions to science projects, school libraries generally focus on projects related to curriculum-based activities. Also, look for librarian channels such as Leslie Preddy.

Explore some library videos:

Public Libraries

Librarians in public libraries develop materials on a wide range of topics from instructional materials to community programs. Go to the Pasco Public Library and PPLD Library video channels from Vimeo. From promotional activities to book talks, how many different types of videos you can identify.

Explore some library videos:

Church Libraries

Religious organizations often produce their own videos and may seek resources at the church library. Go to United Methodist Productions for their production materials.

Explore some church library videos:

Presidential Libraries

Many presidential librarians use videos as a way to share historical footage as well as library events.

Explore some library videos:

National and International Libraries and Archives

In addition to coordinating large-scale projects, national libraries develop many of their own multimedia materials.

State Libraries

Many state libraries provide video and audio sources that are used statewide. For instance, many states provide instructional materials for state database subscriptions and recorded conference and meeting programs.

Government Agency Libraries

Many government agency have libraries that house audio and video collections developed in-house.

Library Associations and Library Consortium

State, regional, and national associations provide audio and videos to support their members including webinars, advocacy materials, and recorded programs.

Library Publications

Some publishers provide videos associated with their publications.

Library Settings: Audio

Many libraries produce radio programs, recorded events, oral histories, announcements, advocacy campaigns, podcasts, and other audio materials. SoundCloud is the place many of these resources are shared.

Eric Mikols and Nic Gunning host the official podcast of the David A. Howe Public Library. Called All the Books, this podcasts provides book news, announcements, and library event information.

Our Streets, Our Stories is a project of the Brooklyn Public Library's Department of Outreach Services. According to the station's description, "our hope is to create neighborhood-specific history archives based around interviews with Brooklyn residents."

Check out the podcasts from The New York Public Library Podcasts and also The Librarian is In from the New York Public Library.

Academic Libraries

School Libraries

Public Libraries

State and National Libraries

Other Libraries


Read Thomas, Steve (January/February 2016). Hearing voices: Librarian-produced podcasts. American Libraries, 47(1/2), 16-17. Available through IUPUI.

Read Anderson, Ricky (March 2016). Building your blogging voice. Videomaker, 56-58. Available through IUPUI.

try itTry It!
Go to Dewey Decibel Podcast from American Libraries.
Listen to an episode. Compare and contrast video and audio experiences.

Library Production Projects

From 90-second book trailers to large scale digitization projects, librarians build a wide range of audio and video projects.

Behind the Scenes

Many library users are interested in what happens "behind the scenes" at the library. From the process of digitizing to the planning of events, libraries can share the world of librarianship with their users.

Collaborative Projects

Many libraries participate in partnerships with other institutions. Audio and video projects are an effective way to share projects and progress.


From summer reading and science fiction book clubs to LEGO building clubs, libraries use audio and video to share orientation information, trailers, programs, and many other audio and video resources.

Digital Collections

Many libraries are producing digital collections featuring audio and video. While some of these collections include locally produced video, others involve gathering and sharing existing footage. Some videos promote the collections while others feature archival audio and video.

Explore a few examples:

Albertson, Dan & Ju, Boryung (2015). Design criteria for video digital libraries. Online Information Review, 39(2), 214-238. Available through IUPUI.


Whether exploring the history of the library or a local issue of interest,

Read at least two of the following articles:
Biesterfeld, Peter (May 2016). Six modes of doc production. Videomaker, 59-62. Available through IUPUI.
Biesterfeld, Peter (April 2016). Access in doc production. Videomaker, 54-56. Available through IUPUI.
Biesterfeld, Peter (March 2016). Finding your story. Videomaker, 46-48. Available through IUPUI.
Biesterfeld, Peter (February 2016). A creative treatment of actuality. Videomaker, 56-58. Available through IUPUI.
Zelichenko, Roman & Levy, Mark (January 2016). Libel and inaccuracies in video. Videomaker, 48-49. Available through IUPUI.


Many libraries hold physical and virtual exhibitions. From a cookbook display to a Smithsonian traveling exhibit, libraries can share a wide range of special displays and exhibits. For instance, Chick Stream and Chicken Hatching Videos from Patchogue-Medford Library features their chicken hatching science project.

Explore some of the examples below:


From your local history collection to a prized rare book, think about the treasures housed at your library. Of course, highlight audio and video projects don't need to be treasures. You may simply highlight a different digital subscription each week or feature a staff member. Or, considering a short recap of recent events or library programs.

Instructional Materials: Tutorials & "How-Tos"

From step-by-step "how-tos" to guides for using areas of the library, audio and video materials are useful in instruction.

Many K-12 and higher education environments are using video as part of a "flipped classroom". According to Educause (2012):

"The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions."

Read ONE of the following article:
Riismandel, Paul (March 2014). The Flipped Classroom. Streaming Media Magazine, 189-191. Available through IUPUI.
Riismandel, Paul (April 2014). Creating Flipped Videos that Soar. Streaming Media Magazine, 8. Available through IUPUI.

Interviews, Lecturers, Oral History, and Spotlights

Many libraries feature people and places through interviews, lectures, histories, and spotlights. For instance in Meet the Past, historical figures are interviewed.

Interviews may include local officials, visiting authors, or others of interest to library users. Also, consider staff member features. Explore some examples:

Hernandez, Arlene (May 23, 2014). Tips for Creating Great Video Interviews. DigitalGov.

Guest Lecturers are common in higher education, but they are also popular in public libraries. From well-known authors to celebrities, consider ways you can record these experiences for future students or others who might be interested. Explore some examples:

Read Riismandel, Paul (May 2015). Guest Stars. Streaming Media Magazine, 10. Available through IUPUI.

Oral History Projects are often connected with local historical society activities. Explore some oral history projects:

Spotlights may focus on library users, local businesses, area partners, or other people, places, and organizations connected with the library. Explore some examples:

Library Advocacy and Marketing

From library month videos to public service announcements promoting library services, there are many ways that audio and video can be used in library advocacy and marketing. Explore some library videos:

Videos provide the spark to ignite youth with passion for library advocacy (June 2016). ilovelibraries.

Library Orientations and Tutorials

From high school freshman to new community members, many librarians develop library orientations to provide an overview of the library to new users.

Library tours are a closely related type of video project. Check out the Audio and Video Tour from the Cambridge Public Library.

Explore some library videos:

Read at least two of the following articles:

Bennett, Jessica L. (2016). Creating Library Videos. Journal of Electronic
Resources Librarianship
, 28(2), 111-114. Available through IUPUI.

Emanuel, Michelle (2013). Using Screencasting to Promote Database Trials and Library Resources. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 25(4), 277-282. Available through IUPUI.

Ingalls, Dana (March 2015). Virtual tours, videos, and zombies: the changing face of academic library orientation. Canadian Journal of Information & Library Sciences, 39(1), 79-90. Available through IUPUI.

Keba, Michelle, Sego, Jamie, & Scofield, Michael (2015). Making it work: creating a student-friendly repository of instructional videos. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 1-2, 17-29. Available through IUPUI.

Martin, Nichole A. & Martin, Ross (2015) Would You Watch It? Creating Effective and Engaging Video Tutorials. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 9(1-2), 40-56. Available through IUPUI.


Some libraries use audio and video to share news and announcements. Explore some examples:

Programs, Presentations, and Performances

From public library preschool storytimes to presidential library special events, many libraries share their programs, presentations, and performances.

Everyone loves a puppet show. Explore Puppet Shows from Edmonton Public Library.

Check out a performance of the The Rockin' Rollers from the Arkansas State Library. It's a synchronized bookcart performance.

For instance, check out the William Webb Performance: African-American Civil War Soldier from the Connecticut State Library. It's not a polished video, but it provides an invaluable resource to viewers.

Seminars and workshops can also be recorded and shared. For instance, check out Business Topics from the New York Public Library. Explore some examples.

Trailers, Talks, and Reviews

From book talks to movie trailers, many libraries build trailers to promote a wide range of resources. This is also a popular activity for students. Explore some examples:

Read Vincent, Tony (August 14, 2014). Plan a Better iMovie Trailer with These PDFs.

smallAnnette's Reflection
Watch the book trailer titled After Glow. This is a book I co-authored with my mother. Still images were used along with music created in GarageBand and audio added in iMovie.

Book trailers are easy to create using free and low-cost software.

For lots of other examples, do a search for "book trailers" in YouTube.

try itTry It!
Of course not all videos fit nicely into categories. For instance, Unboxings is a cool give-away program from the Delaware County District Library. Viewers watch the video, post on the comments, and win! What a cool idea.
Brainstorm some cool ways you might use audio and video in your library setting of interest.


Live Video

While many libraries simply record programs to share later, some libraries are using live streaming services to provide real-time programs. No longer do the presenters, librarians, and participants need to be in one place. Your speaker may be skyping in from Alaska to speak to a group in Atlanta. Or, students from area schools may all participate in a library audio program at the public library.

Albert, Donavan (November 26, 2013). Empowering Forest Service Scientific Experts to Educate the World Using Live Video. DigitalGov.


While specialized tools are available for audio and video conferencing are available, they aren't always necessary. In other words, webinars might include whiteboards, chat features, and other tools. Although these tools may be available through a library subscription, they aren't needed for a basic speaker.

A variety of technology is available for basic audio and video conferencing. Popular tools are shown below:

readTry It!
Go to Periscope and explore what's happening live around the world.
Think about applications for the library.

Sullivan, Will (April 14, 2015). Trends on Tuesday: Ten Tips for Mobile Living Streaming. DigitalGov.
Vincent, Tony (July 13, 2015). The scoop on Periscope: Broadcast live video to the world. Learning in Hand.

Social Media

A growing number of social media tools are incorporating live and recorded video.

Facebook now has a live video option. Check out the map!

FlipGrid allows users to share video postings and seek video replies.


Video Production Costs

Hardware, software, and time are three key considerations when thinking about production in the library. Before diving in, consider whether it would be cheaper and easier to outsource a particular media project. Or, whether existing resources such as a smartphone and YouTube would work as well as an expensive digital camera and a streaming service.

Develop a short and long range plan that outlines the projected goals and activities. Then, determine whether the "Return On Investment" is worth the desired outcome.

Biesterfeld, Peter (December 2015). Building a video budget. Videomaker, 40-45. Available through IUPUI.
Chant, Ian (April 2015). TBLC shares videographer. Library Journal, 19-20. Available through IUPUI.

Issues in Original Productions

Before jumping into media production, it's important to consider some key issues.


Students want to do a parody of a popular music video.
A cooking club wants to create a YouTube channel sharing their favorite recipes from a well-known cookbook.
A local music group wants to record a CD of favorite 70s classic rock songs using library equipment.

These situations all involve copyright issues that must be addressed before production begins. It's important that the library have a clear policy related to the use of library equipment for audio and video productions.

Music is a specific concern.

Watch Creative Commons Gets Creative.
Create a list of key ideas related to copyright in your library setting.

Rubin, Jonathan (May 4, 2013). Video Copyright: How to Avoid Getting Sued. DigitalGov.

try itTry It!
Explore the Creative Commons licenses. Think about how they apply to audio and video projects. Use the Search by Collection to explore some examples.


From providing access to those with vision or hearing challenges to designing materials for multiple languages, access is an issue when designing library materials.

Transcriptions are useful for some audio and video users. Otranscribe is a transcription tool.

If you work in a community with a large number of individual who speak a language other than English, consider creating videos in multiple languages. For instance, the American Economic Association has a career video in both English and Spanish.

According Jonathan Rubin (2012), people must be able to "fully experience" videos produced by government agencies. He notes:

"Federal employees are required by law (Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) to make the materials they create usable for people with disabilities. Section 508 applies to video as well. There are three main requirements for making a video 508 accessible. You must:

  • Create captions
  • Create an audio description of non–audio content in the video (example: Someone silently saluting an American flag)
  • Use a video player that people with disabilities can use

Making your video 508 compliant is an important step in creating a government video."

Leisinger, Ryan (November 21, 2013). Create Section 508-Compliant Videos on Your Government Website. DigitalGov.
Rubin, Jonathan, Leisinger, Ryan & Morin, Gary (June 30, 2014). 508 Accessible Videos - why (and how) to Make Them. DigitalGov.
Rubin, Jonathan, Leisinger, Ryan & Morin, Gary (June 30, 2014). 508 Accessible Videos - use a 508-compliant Video Player. DigitalGov.
Rubin, Jonathan, Leisinger, Ryan & Morin, Gary (June 30, 2014). 508 Accessible Videos - How to Make Audio Descriptions. DigitalGov.
Rubin, Jonathan, Leisinger, Ryan & Morin, Gary (June 30, 2014). 508 Accessible Videos - How to Caption Videos. DigitalGov.


Before using music in your productions, learn about licensing.

Levy, Mark (April 2015). Licensing music for video. Videomaker, 50-52. Available through IUPUI.

Video Privacy Issues

Whether working in a government library or a public library, it's important to consider personal privacy. According Jonathan Rubin (2012), government-produced video as well as other library-produced videos should adhere to privacy laws.

"Government employees must follow the law in regards to privacy issues. Privacy law focuses largely on three issues:

  1. Identification—If people can be identified in your video, even if they are in the background, by their face, clothing or distinguishing features (e.g. tattoos), this becomes a privacy issue.
  2. Dissemination—You can film nearly anyone you want so long as no one else sees the video. Putting the video on a website, however, makes the video public and raises privacy concerns.
  3. Minors—Children under 18 cannot appear on a video without their parent’s permission. A parent or guardian can give consent for the minor to be filmed.

Rayn, Jini (May 9, 2014). Common Mistakes in Government Video. DigitalGov.


Maybee, Clarence; Doan, Tomalley; & Flierl, Michael (2016). Information literacy in the active learning classroom. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, in process.

Rubin, Jonathan (July 11, 2012). Government Video: Laws You Need To Follow. DigitalGov.

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