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Kristine Nelsen's picture

Music Programming in Public Libraries

As the Music Library Association's liaison to PLA, I wanted to share a program that is being presented at the MLA's annual conference in Atlanta February 26-March 2. Speakers Laurie Bailey, John Smalley, and myself will be presenting "Music Programming and Partnerships at Public Libraries."  This presentation will focus on sharing the diversity of musical activities taking place in public libraries.

If your library has a music related program you are especially proud of, or if you have entered into any unique partnerships with local music organizations, we would love to know more. We are also interested in any opportunities you provide for patrons to engage in their own musical pursuits. We know there's a lot of creative and exciting programming going on out there, and we'd like to share it.


Kristie Nelsen

Susan Considine's picture

As a graduate student in the MLIS program at Syracuse University, I had the opportunity to work as an intern at the Fayetteville Free Library at Fayetteville, NY.  The position included working with the database of the Vincent Motto Sheet Music Collection. (http://www.fayettevillefreelibrary.org/motto)  The sheet music collection, curated by Ms. Bobbi Hampson, presents a printed music timeline of America from the Civil War through the 1980’s.  The objectives of the project were designed by the Library Director, Ms. Susan Considine, to meet the library’s strategic mission to present the collection to a growing patron base with academic integrity and functional usability.

Research for the project led me to the Sheet Music Consortium, a multi-library initiative, led by to index and present similar sheet music collections. (http://digital2.library.ucla.edu/sheetmusic/index.html)   My specific goal was to adapt the data, created by volunteers and held at the library for presentation within the Consortium.   This put me in touch with music librarians from Indiana University and UCLA.  Their assistance helped to clarify the data transfer process and to encourage and welcome a public library as a collaborative partner.

Although the project is still in progress, it has helped the library to see a much larger venue  for their special collection.  Once the Motto Collection is fully integrated into the index of metadata available on the Internet, it can demonstrate its unique value as part of the American Songbook Collection.  Students, historians, and musicians will soon be able to access music previously known only to the local patrons of the Fayetteville Free Library.  The library will benefit from knowing that have something so unique, that it draws patrons from all over the world.  I am proud to have played a part in connecting people to what is truly a special collection, the Motto Sheet Music Collection.

John Gleason