Audio Reading Service Provides 24/7 Programming with Teamup

Audio reading materials distributed around the clock with Teamup Calendar

This non-profit audio reading service manages a staff and 150 volunteer readers with a Teamup Calendar that makes scheduling easy and efficient.

For those suffering from literacy, visual or physical impairments, access to information may seem off-limits. Not so in Allen County, Indiana, in the US. The public library has a dedicated department – the Audio Reading Service – that broadcasts local news and other information to help those who are unable to read using conventional, visually dependent materials. Broadcast Coordinator Mark Lahey shared their story with us.

About the Audio Reading Service

We are the Audio Reading Service, a department of the Allen County Public Library system located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

With a staff of only five, and nearly 150 dedicated volunteers, we record, produce, broadcast, stream, podcast, and nationally distribute recorded readings of popular national magazines, publications, and newspapers… all for free, and all for people who have a variety of reading challenges.

We air original programming 24/7/365, and our three recording studios and edit suites are busy 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday.

The challenge

Because of the volume of our programming, and the literal revolving-door of volunteer readers, our recording studio schedules are in constant flux. We strive to accommodate our reader volunteers.  It’s a huge challenge to track all of the volunteers and their unique schedules, manage time-off requests, coordinate alternative recording dates and times, and find substitute readers when they’re needed.

Before we found Teamup, the team used erasable whiteboards to track everything:

Audio reading materials distributed around the clock with Teamup Calendar
The whiteboard that the team used before Teamup.

The whiteboard method was an inefficient hassle. In fact, I cannot fathom trying to juggle all of this on paper, or on a whiteboard, without it all becoming a nightmare of a train wreck.

The solution

Over the time that we have been using the TeamUp Calendar it has quickly become an absolute necessity for our office, and the perfect tool to organize our volunteers, our studios, and our programming schedule.

We looked at dozens of online options and by far Teamup was the most intuitive and flexible to do exactly what we needed. The fact that it’s free and without advertisements makes it that much better.

Mark Lahey, Broadcast Coordinator

The team created multiple sub-calendars for the main categories of the schedule, including rooms, substitutes and holidays. Before, events could only be scheduled a week at a time; now we can schedule months of events and recurring events with little effort.

Audio reading materials distributed around the clock with Teamup Calendar
Audio Reading Service Scheduling Calendar on Teamup: 4-week view and day view.

Instead of whiteboards on the wall, a self-refreshing and always up-to-date calendar is shown to everyone on a large electronic display:

Audio reading materials distributed around the clock with Teamup Calendar
A large display of the Teamup Calendar auto-refreshes with the latest scheduling information.

The fact that I can pull up the calendar on any computer, or mobile device, at any time, and make global changes on the fly only makes it all that much better.

Our volunteers love using Teamup because they can look up any time-off conflict dates in advance, or they can look for opportunities to do some substitute readings. This accessibility for our volunteers has dropped our need to make 11th-hour pleas for readers, and has really streamlined the tracking of our studios.

Answering questions like “Next week, can I come in Tuesday at 1pm instead of Monday at 10:00am?” just got a lot easier!

Georgean Johnson-Coffey, Manager

The benefits

  • The calendar is always up-to-date.  When changes occur, it’s easy to update the calendar via computer or with a Teamup mobile app for iOS or Android.  All changes are instantly accessible to all users. No more messaging, emails, or phone calls to make sure everyone is updated.
  • Categories can be color-coded. Differentiating various opportunities and needs on the calendar, using color-coded sub-calendars, makes it easy for staff and volunteers to find the information they need easily. For example, substitute reader opportunities are distinguishable from events with substitute readers already scheduled.
Audio reading materials distributed around the clock with Teamup Calendar
Red striping shows substitute opportunities; black striping shows that a sub is already scheduled.
  • It’s easy to share. All that is needed to access the calendar is a calendar link that can be opened in any connected web browser, or using a Teamup mobile app. Calendar administrators can create, modify, or disable these calendar links at any time, as needed.
  • It’s available anywhere. Volunteer readers don’t have to be in the library to check the schedule. With Teamup mobile apps, volunteers are able to access the calendar both on the move and even when offline.

Thanks to the gang at TeamUp for such an intuitive, useful, and affordable scheduling tool.

Thank you to Mark Lahey for sharing your story!

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