America’s libraries are full of incredible stories—and a new podcast from the American Library Association (ALA) aims to share these amazing tales with the world.
Patron Driven, a podcast from Choice (a publishing unit from the Association of College & Research Libraries), launched its series premiere this week. Each season will explore a different library’s story over an in-depth, multi-episode arc. For season one, Choice staff asked community college librarians across the country to submit their stories, and one particular narrative blew the Patron Driven team away: how Texas’s Lone Star College – Kingwood (LSC-Kingwood) library transformed its services in the wake of a catastrophic natural disaster.
In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated much of Louisiana and southeastern Texas, including Kingwood. Much of LSC-Kingwood was flooded, with the library hit the hardest—everything on the first floor was destroyed. With the school’s physical campus wrecked, library staff were instrumental in transitioning students and faculty to online learning. As they rebuilt the library over the years that followed, they seized the opportunity to build a better-than-ever space for the campus community.
The Patron Driven podcast follows this story from before the hurricane to the storm’s horrific aftermath. The narrative unfolds through first-person accounts from four library staff members—Allison Huffy, Anne McGittigan, Jennifer Martinez, and Mikha Mitchell—who worked together to weather the storm and rebuild a stronger library.
“For Anne, Allison, Mikha, and Jennifer, Hurricane Harvey is clearly one of those before-and-after events,” co-host Mark Derks explains. “Before the hurricane, they did their jobs. They went through their day-to-day. One long rainstorm would change all that.”