Ingram Blog

Gig Economy: Patrons Seeking Nontraditional Work Podcast

Gigs are no longer reserved solely for comedians and musicians. Bloggers, vloggers, ridesharing drivers and a host of other nontraditional career opportunities now occupy the space of independent and temporary work. Listen in as we explore the on demand career path and how you can provide resources to your patrons who are already involved or interested in picking up a gig.

Welcome to Two Librarians and A Microphone, a library podcast by Ingram Library Services. Join Ingram's Collection Development Team as they explore trending topics, discuss industry news, and share their expertise on how to build the perfect collection for your community.



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Want to hear more trending topics from our collection development team? Check out episode two: Escapism Reading to Relax and Recharge . Did you catch the last season of our library podcast? Go take a listen!


Beth Reinker [00:00:17] Welcome to Two Librarians and a Microphone. I'm Beth Reinker, Manager of Adult Collection Development at Ingram.

Becky Walton [00:00:23] I'm Becky Walton, Collection Development Librarian, too from Ingram Library services.

Beth Reinker [00:00:28] Today we're going to be talking about the gig economy. Some studies say that by 2020, 40% of the American workforce will be independent contractors. It's a sure bet that the gig economy is here to stay. Hello, thank you for joining me for the first installment of our fall series of podcasts discussing issues important to public librarians, as we continue to try to serve our communities in a world with rapidly shifting needs and circumstances. I'm Beth Reinker, manager of our Adult Collection Development Team here at Ingram, and I'm joined today by Becky Walton, who is a Collection Development Librarian for Ingram Library Services. Today, we'd like to talk about what has become known as the gig economy, and how libraries can help support patrons who are making their living through non-traditional work. We know this shift is happening. We see many articles about how increased digital accessibility allows people to work from anywhere, and to work when they want, if they want. Retirees are finding new sources of income, and millennials are looking for the greater work life balance that a flexible schedule can provide. But we haven't heard as much about the new skills needed to thrive in this cultural shift. Most public librarians view their libraries as community hubs, where patrons can learn about the world and find popular materials for entertainment. Our world is changing faster and faster, and librarians are continually asking ourselves how libraries can effectively provide services for our patrons. Today we're going to tackle one way

Beth Reinker [00:01:59] libraries are providing those services and positively impacting their communities. It's worth repeating that government economists estimate that 40% of Americans will be working outside of traditional full-time jobs by 2020. I knew that non-traditional work had been growing in the last few years, but those estimates seemed really high to me. Then I read a Chicago Tribune article on the subject. There's this myth that the gig economy equals an Uber driver. If you're not a full-time employee at a full-time job, you're part of the gig economy. That really put the concept of the gig economy, and how widespread it is, into context for me.

Becky Walton [00:02:38] Today, it's not uncommon to know people who make their living, or supplement their income, by selling handmade items on Etsy, or driving for ride-sharing companies, creating websites or walking dogs. And with the proliferation of mobile devices and digital marketplaces, it's so easy to broadcast the services you have to offer and connect with potential employers.

Beth Reinker [00:03:00] Bloggers are a great example of the gig economy. Many of them started out just sharing their cleaning and organization tips, or craft ideas on the web, then they started selling ads on their sites. Now many more of the popular bloggers have book deals.

Becky Walton [00:03:14] Who knew that so many people would want to regularly visit a website about cleaning?

Beth Reinker [00:03:19] I don't.

Becky Walton [00:03:20] But that's what's happening with Clean Mama, otherwise known as Becky Rapinchuk. She started her cleaning and home-keeping blog,, in 2009, and has since published two books, The Organically Clean Home, from Adams Media, and Simply Clean, from Touchstone. And Jenny Lawson started the Bloggess blog almost 10 years ago, sharing both her quirky sense of humor and her struggle with depression. She now has three books under her belt, two of which appeared on the New York Times' bestseller list. And she spends a lot of time on book tours giving talks to standing room only crowds. Beth and I went to her event at the National Public Library when she was touring for Furiously Happy, and we had so much fun. Jenny was very personable, authentic, and relatable.

Beth Reinker [00:04:05] It's true, we really both loved Jenny Lawson. She's created this amazing community of people who follow her blog and interact with each other, and one of the things that I really love is how much it's all built around her personality and interests and that others have grown to love it too, and in fact, we have a life-size cardboard cut-out of Rory, the taxidermied raccoon on the cover of her book, and there are pictures of Becky and I with him.

Becky Walton [00:04:30] We're never getting rid of him, ever. This one is near and dear to my heart, as a chicken owner and lover, Kathy Shea Mormino, also known as the Chicken Chick, has a chicken care blog, and two books, the Chicken Chick's Guide to Backyard Chickens, and coming out next June, best title ever, Lifestyles of the Chicken Famous: The Chicken Chick's Flock at Home and Play, and I know you want to read it. Of course, it makes sense that bloggers took their ideas to YouTube, and vlogging is now just as popular, and the technical skills that the content creators use to create polished and entertaining work is so impressive. Lily Singh creates comedic and satirical videos, and often acts out the parts of all the characters herself. She promotes positivity, girl power, and being open-minded and loving, and if you haven't already, do yourself a favor and listen to her read her audio book, How to Be a Boss. She's inspirational and funny, and I find myself quoting her almost every day. Writer and comedian Mamrie Hart has been making audiences laugh since 2011 when she started the You Deserve a Drink YouTube channel. She also has two published books to her credit. Shane Dawson does a little bit of everything. He started his first YouTube channel in 2008 and has gone on to create more channels, TV show pilots, songs, music videos, podcasts, and two memoirs, definitely a busy guy.

Beth Reinker [00:05:56] Yeah, we've definitely seen a trend of publishers picking up authors who have already built a following online. When you think about it, YouTube stars or bloggers who have gone on to build successful publishing careers, it really just makes sense. They already have a built-in audience before the publisher even starts thinking about publicizing the book. Two that come to my mind are now Food Network stars. The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, started a blog, and that has grown into a huge business, that includes a TV show, cookbooks, children's books, merchandise sold at Walmart and she even now has a restaurant and store. Another great foodie example is Hannah Hart. She started with My Drunk Kitchen, her wildly popular YouTube web series, and that has grown into multiple books, including her 2016 memoir, Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded. I recently saw a commercial for her new Food Network show, I Hart Food. Not bad for somebody that started with a webcam video of herself making grilled cheese with no cheese.

Becky Walton [00:06:54] PewDiePie is a Swedish comedian and content producer who got his start in social media by filming himself playing video games and commenting on them. You would be surprised at the number of people who watch videos of someone else playing video games. It's a good way to get tips and tricks for advancing to the next level and of learning about new video games that are gaining popularity. Many YouTube celebrities have an egalitarian approach to the platform and they collaborate with each other to create new and exciting content. There's a lot of crossover, with one YouTube personality guest starring on another one's video, and it just makes it so organic and funny. In addition to selling ads on YouTube, many successful video creators now post their works to YouTube Red, which is the paid monthly subscription service version of YouTube.

Beth Reinker [00:07:41] There have been a lot of examples of bloggers and vloggers who went on to get book deals, or even TV gigs based on the following they've built. But there are a lot of other ways to make money as part of the gig economy. Earlier, Becky mentioned selling your work on Etsy, and that's a business that seems approachable for anyone with an idea of a product to make or sell. Even if you can't be as financially successful as some of the examples we shared, there are opportunities to supplement other income, and libraries can and do offer resources to help patrons as they build these new careers. In fact, there are several new books coming out about the subject. Facebook's Marketplace is no longer just for selling your old couch or kitchen table. There are master craftsmen who will make custom furniture and more. Independent workers can register with Tackle, TaskRabbit, and other providers of an array of services that can range from running errands and writing resumes, to building websites, cleaning and even assembling furniture. Building on the business examples, libraries can include titles like: Starting an Etsy Business for Dummies, Entrepreneurs: Start Your Own Etsy Business, or The Everything Guide to Selling Arts and Crafts Online. There are also some great new books coming out about the gig economy, or the concept of building your side hustle into your primary income. Librarians who want to support patrons seeking non-traditional work, should look for Chris Guillebeau's Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days. Guillebeau is a really interesting guy.

Beth Reinker [00:09:09] In addition to being the author of several books, and having launched successful business ventures, he hosts a daily podcast called Side Hustle School that has more than two million downloads a month. The podcast tells stories of people who have launched successful side hustle businesses. It's inspiring, and it helps listeners see how vastly different side hustle businesses can be, and different ways that people have become successful. His book has been blurbed by Damon John, Gretchen Rubin, Daniel Pink, and John Acuff, and I expect that it will continue to get a lot of attention because of his online presence. If you're looking for more resources to build your library's collection of titles, to help your patrons embrace the gig economy, we have you covered. If not, we think you should jump on the bandwagon. You can find the list of resources on iPage under Browse, High Interest Categories, Podcast Resources. Has your library created programs and book displays to support patrons who are pursuing non-traditional work? Have you had a patron share a success story? We'd love to hear about it and feature your program. Tweet us about it @ingramcontent, and use the hashtag #thelibrarylife. With all this talk about work, our minds drifted to relaxation. We hope you'll join us for our next podcast in this series, where we'll talk about why escapism is another trend that you need to be on top of.