Northern Onondaga Public Library (NOPL) has two librarians that can’t hold back their love, excitement, and rage about the Romance genre. After Outreach Librarian Jen Tolley and Adult Services Librarian Jackie Hoyt started their romance discussion group, a book club called “Between the Covers” in 2018, they desired even more conversation and outlet on the romance genre. As with many genres, romance has controversies; and for Jen and Jackie, podcasting was a way to bring them to the forefront. Last October, NOPL began a new venture when starting the Raging Romantics Podcast, and it’s been all the rage.
Episode topics can range from vampires to silver foxes to the hottest Regency authors, and all episodes seek to uncover inherent concerns and issues. Jackie and Jen try to balance difficult discussions with hilarious outbursts, moments of perspective, and of course, raging and ranting.
“For the most part, Jen and I love the books we read and enjoy how progressive and reflective romance can be,” says co-host Jackie Hoyt. “That said, there are still quite a few issues that need to be brought to the surface.”
“This podcast is critical thinking into my favorite genre,” says other host Jen Tolley. “We believe that these sorts of deep dives are necessary to open up essential conversations our society should be having.”
Both librarians have read their bulk of the genre and have found layers of disturbance between the pages. Talking about these issues is important to Jen and Jackie, but this podcast is not about catching you off guard. “We know how much it sucks when something sneaks up on you in a book, and the next thing you know, you’re a mess in the corner eating frosting with a spoon,” says Hoyt. Both hosts commit to having your back with each episode, providing trigger warnings to prepare the listener for what is coming, and offering notes and hyperlinks for additional review.
“Hate to break it to you, but romance is an important genre,” says Jackie.
“We’re going to be thinking quite hard on a lot of things that some people deem “fluff” or “inconsequential,” says Tolley, “and we will argue this until we’re blue in the face. There will be a lot of ranting because some of the things we tackle will be triggering and infuriating.” Yet, they keep the banter light-hearted and upbeat, making the podcast an informal education piece for adults readers of all ages looking for entertainment and counsel on the romance genre.
This Raging Romantics podcast comes to fruition as the world is becoming open to conversations about gender, sex, stereotypes, feminism, and other topics. The library is where you can find information about the unknown, learn more about the unfamiliar, and discuss the world’s changes. Due to physical locations’ limitations, NOPL embraces digital channels like podcasting to create platforms for conversation and contemplation about our society’s diverse social landscape.
The Raging Romantics Podcast airs twice a month, on the first and third Friday at NOPL.org/RagingRomantics. Episodes are about 45 minutes or less and are downloadable. You can also find Raging Romantics on Spotify and on other channels, like Apple Podcast, soon.
Between the Covers club meets on the third Thursday of every month, and in December is reading The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. The next virtual meet-up is on December 17th at 6:30 pm.