Narwhals and a Microphone Named Blue: Talking with Susan Maguire about Booklist’s New Podcast SHELF CARE


A rare Webinarwhal.

Today, Booklist celebrates the launch of its first-ever original podcast, Shelf Care. The brainchild of Susan Maguire, Senior Editor, Collection Management and Library Outreach, Shelf Care seeks to unite listeners with rock-star librarians, the publishing world’s latest trends, and need-to-know reading recommendations from the editors at Booklist. I recently sat down with Susan, met her microphone (it’s named Blue), admired her cross-stitching (look at that narwhal!), discovered her true feelings about Bohemian Rhapsody (“If you take a drink every time there’s a meaningful glance at the camera, you’ll need a liver transplant”)—and, oh yes, chatted about Shelf Care. Learn all about your soon-to-be favorite podcast—and podcast host—below, and tune into the first episode here.


What can listeners expect from the first episode of Shelf Care?

We’re going to talk about podcasts! I talk to the folks at Lawrence Public Library. They have a podcast called Book Squad, and we talk about how they do it and why they do it. I also talk to Heather Booth [Booklist‘s audio editor] about how to use podcasts as a jumping-off point for listeners’ advisory.


What will a typical episode of Shelf Care sound like?

Each episode will include one story and one interview with a Booklist editor. The stories will feature conversations with librarians about anything collection development, reference, or readers’ advisory related. In the interview portion, Booklist editors will talk about recent trends they’re noticing. In the first episode, I talk to Annie Bostrom [adult books associate editor] . . . but you’ll have to listen to find out what we talk about!


How do you cope with listening to the sound of your own voice for hours while editing?

It’s terrible. I just do it. I know this kind of thing is always worse for the person doing it—and not the person listening to it—so I hope people like listening to it more than I do! . . . This is really going to sell it!


What is your favorite part of podcasting?


Blue in her natural habitat.

Even though I don’t like the sound of my own voice, I do like talking into a microphone. I also like getting people stuff that’s useful to them in a way that’s useful to them. A big part of my job is readers’ advisory and collection management, and the podcast is kind of an extension of that. Hopefully, Shelf Care will inspire people to think creatively about their collections.


What are some of your favorite podcasts?

Well, I should say I don’t really care what podcasts talk about; I’m more interested in listening to amusing people talking to each other. But also: My Favorite Murder, Las Culturistas, Sawbones, and By the Book.


I have somehow never listened to a podcast. What about Shelf Care will convince non-podcast people to listen?

People should give it a try to see if consuming information in that format is useful to them. I think podcasts allow people to learn something while also enjoying themselves. Plus, if you’re a Booklist subscriber, you can use Shelf Care in the same way you’d read the magazine.


About the Author:

Briana Shemroske is Booklist's Marketing Associate. She graduated with a BA from Lake Forest College where she studied English Writing and Art History. In her free time she can be found eating cheeseburgers, frolicking with her schnoodle, Moritz, and feebly attempting to play board games. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Briana.

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