Rowan Public Library applies for grant for new podcast studio, continuation of digitizing Post’s archives

Published 12:06 am Sunday, February 26, 2023

SALISBURY — The Rowan Public Library recently applied for a grant that, if awarded, would fund a “podcast production studio and instructional space,” where people would be able to learn basic podcast training and then reserve the space to record on their own.

Library staff members had been talking about wanting to create the space for awhile, especially with the success of librarian David Lamanno’s podcast “Gather ‘Round Good People,” which takes an in-depth look at regional folk music.

“We were looking at potential projects for an LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant and this seemed perfect,” said Laurie Lyda, the library services manager for the Rowan Public Library.

An LSTA grant is given through the Library Services and Technology Act, which awards grants “in response to specific needs of public, academic and community college libraries. These federal funds are investments that help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services to their communities,” according to the State Library of North Carolina’s website.

If the grant is awarded and all goes well, the podcast studio could be available for groups and individuals by November.

“With the popularity of podcasts and how easy they are in a lot of ways for people to do them, we felt like it would be a really good way to let folks participate in that kind of information-conversation that’s happening,” Lyda said. “This would allow anybody to come to the library, they’ll receive basic training in how to use the equipment and then once they do that, they can reserve the space.”

The library hopes to partner with schools so students could learn podcast skills. Livingstone College and Catawba College both wrote letters supporting the grant application, as well as the nonprofit Friends of the Rowan Public Library.

The podcast studio would be located on the second floor of the library’s main branch in Salisbury next to “The Coop,” a maker’s space which has a 3D printer for people to use. Lyda said staff has been trying to figure out a way to better use that space and make it more user-friendly.

Another grant the library recently applied for is from the Blanche and Julian Robertson Foundation, which awards numerous grants to groups throughout Rowan County. The grant would continue to fund a collaborative project with the Salisbury Post to digitize archives owned by the Post for preservation and make them accessible to the public in the Edith M. Clark History Room. The grant funds would be used to continue providing temporary staffing for the project, which has been ongoing since August 2022.