Teacher Librarians Chris Patrick and Tracy Chrenka present “Loud in the Library”


Sam Noonan, Staff Writer

“I’m Teacher librarian Chris Patrick, joined by my friend and colleague, Teacher librarian Tracy Chrenka. We’re recording from our hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.”  

This is one of the first things you’ll hear tuning into “Loud in the Library,” a podcast made by two of Forest Hills’ own teacher librarians. Teacher librarians Chris Patrick and Tracy Chrenka have taken a new approach on sharing their love of literature by starting Loud in the Library, a podcast focusing on interviews with authors of young adult books.

Loud in the Library is a podcast “promoting literacy, and sharing [Patrick and Chrenka’s] love of books and reading.” The duo publishes an episode every month on the 15th, and every episode includes an author interview, general book talk, and more. After trial and error, they settled on using Skype for interviews – Unless it is possible to do so in person. Patrick edits and publishes the episodes when they are finished, and they are available on loudinthelibrary.com, iTunes, and Soundcloud.

“Mr. Patrick and I had talked about creating a podcast for the first half of last school year. When KDL invited our students to an author talk with Floyd Cooper, we decided to ask for an interview and that became the centerpiece of our first podcast,” Chrenka said.

Patrick says that him and Chrenka are always looking for a challenge, and creating Loud in the Library was exactly what they needed. They felt it would be a fun and new way to talk about books, and wanted to see where it went. As both of their time is split between more than 3 schools, Loud in the Library was a way for them to reach students throughout the schools, easily and conveniently.

“Initially, our audience was just Mrs. Chrenka and I. We wanted to create [Loud in the Library]  and just see what happened. Then, we thought it would be just for students,” said Patrick. “What happened, as we were creating it and some kids at Northern started listening to it, we [decided] that it was for anyone who’s interested in books, anyone who’s interested in listening to an author interview, and anyone who’s interested in the hilarious jokes I tell.”

Chrenka feels that Loud in the Library is for anyone who loves books, reading, or even just listening to podcasts. Both Chrenka and Patrick hope that FHPS teachers and students who are interested in it will listen, and want to reach anyone who might be interested, but is not aware of it. As the podcast continues to grow, both want to be able to interview more authors and continue to make episodes every month.

Authors that Patrick and Chrenka have interviewed include Andrew Smith, Tobin Buhk, A.S. King, Steve Sheinkin, and Ruta Sepetys, and they plan to interview many more. The pair have contacted local libraries such as KDL, and they have plans to work with these libraries to set up interviews. Chrenka says that the authors they have interviewed are merely ones they admired, and felt that it couldn’t hurt to ask for an interview. One example is Kate Dicamillo, an award-winning author that they met at a conference over the summer. Patrick and Chrenka arranged an interview with her, and both greatly enjoyed it.

“It was so much fun to interview Kate Dicamillo. We just did [this interview] recently, and she’s so down to earth, fun, and friendly. We were there with her, a two-time Newbery award winner, and we’re having a conversation with her, laughing with her. It just felt really good,” said Patrick.

Both Patrick and Chrenka hope to be able to reach as many people as possible as Loud in the Library grows, and would like to continue interviewing new authors. Their hopes are that the podcast will continue and grow, and that they will be able to reach anyone who might possibly be interested but is not currently a listener. The two want to improve on anything they can possibly offer to listeners, and find new ways to tell people to listen.

Patrick is looking forward to future episodes, and wants to keep Loud in the Library just like why they decided to start it – Him and Chrenka both believe that fun is critical in learning, and that’s exactly what the podcast stands for and shows.

“It’s amazing to me, how willing these authors are to spend time with us, two teacher librarians from Grand Rapids who just want to have a conversation about books,” said Patrick.