In 2020, the Belmar Library underwent a remodel which included the design of Jefferson County Public Library’s (JCPL), first digital media studio. The vision of the Digital Media Studio (DMS) is to offer a space where teens, adults, students, artists, technologists, and local businesses can create and edit digital content on their own terms either collaboratively or independently. During the community feedback and needs assessment phases of the Belmar remodel, patrons specifically asked for a space where they could learn how to create their own podcasts and have access to equipment that would support their professional and creative goals.

This project will focus on the evaluation of one podcasting service: introductory, one-on-one sessions with the Creative Technology Coordinator. The target audience will be teens and adults, ages 14+ who are beginners to podcasting. Participants will learn to use the available tools in the space to record, edit, and create a broadcast ready mix of their project. Preferably, the introductory podcasting, one-on-one session would be done in-person, but we see a need because of COVID to make these session appointments available virtually as well. Patrons will be able to decide based on their personal safety preferences to choose to do the session in-person or virtually. The virtual session will replicate the in-person experience as much as possible with the Creative Tech Coordinator teaching live from the DMS utilizing the shared presenting screen, video and audio. The outcomes for participants will be the ability to knowledgeably use the DMS space for podcast production and create a 5-minute audio recording that’s ready to publish. The evaluation outcomes of this service pilot will be used to make future program, strategic and design recommendations. This is particularly timely because JCPL is currently in the early stages of designing a new building as well as conceptualizing the possibilities of newly created Creative Technology Services. This project will allow us to utilize a combination of evaluation methods including interviews, observations and surveys. We hope that this evaluation will become a model for the assessment of future projects and programs.

Evaluation questions and methods:

  1. To what extent do participants increase their understanding and confidence for using sound production equipment and software during the introductory (orientation) podcasting session? (participant survey)
  2. In what ways is the program aligned with the learning needs of participants? (participant survey)
  3. To what extent do participants develop the ability to produce podcasts independently in the Digital Media Studio as approved studio users after the introductory (orientation) podcasting session? (participant survey)