226. The library is alive with the sound of…music?


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Sunday morning – it’s a phrase that conjures up peacefulness and restoration, whether those things arise from sleeping in, or taking advantage of a quiet house to read, or meeting up with friends to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, or participating in a religious service. For me, Sunday mornings are synonymous with music, the music we make in ministry at my church, St. Anne’s in Barrington, or, on a rare Sunday at home, the music I use to pump me up for a few miles on the treadmill! So for the final Library Takeover post on 365 Barrington this Sunday morning, I thought we’d explore the wide variety of music options available to you with your Barrington Area Library card.

Love the convenience of downloading music? Then I hope you’ve been using Freegal, our free music download service. Your Barrington Area Library card number gets you five free song downloads per week, and there are tens of thousands of songs to choose from – the entire Sony music catalog. That catalog is larger than you think, as it includes any number of small labels, too. And using Freegal couldn’t be easier, as the downloaded songs show up and play in your music software/app of choice, like iTunes or Windows Media Player.

FREEGAL+BABY
Freegal, one of the Barrington Area Library’s most popular online services, gives library cardholders five free song downloads every week.

You’ll find hot new tunes from artists like Beyonce, Pink, and Justin Timberlake, classic pop from across the eras – whether that’s Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand or Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. As a real music geek, I am happily surprised by the depth of what is available – and for free! I recently dug out an 80s era album featuring singer Ellen Foley (the voice behind Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”) and members of The Clash, and some of the best music videos from the dawn of MTV for the library’s Throwback Saturday event.  All on Freegal, all free to me with my library card.

Since it’s Sunday morning, this is a good time to let you know that Freegal has tons of religious and spiritual music, too, including many of the albums by St. Anne’s award-winning music director, Rory Cooney, (shameless plug! but I know the other Barrington churches have great music, too) other well-known composers like Marty Haugen and Dan Schutte, and contemporary Christian acts like Laura Story, Casting Crowns, Third Day, and Matt Maher.

That’s my Sunday morning take on music at the library, but one of our Adult Services Librarians, Gwyneth Stupar, wanted the opportunity to tell you about some changes in our library CD collection that will make it easier for you to find the music you love. Gwyneth is also the librarian who orders e-books for adults (what a fun job!), she teaches many of the library’s most cutting edge technology classes, and when she’s not working, she has a passion for photography and the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Il. Heeeeere’s Gwyn!

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Sometimes, it’s the little things: like popping into your local convenience store on your lunch break, grabbing what you need right away, without fuss. That’s exactly the same experience we were aiming for in June 2013, when we embarked on a journey to reorganize our music collection. Locating the Music CD you want to listen to is easier than ever.

Library employee Richard Polomsky multi-tasks by listening to music while shelving and organizing music.
Library employee Richard Polomsky multi-tasks by listening to music while shelving and organizing music.

In the past, we used the Alpha-Numeric System for Classification of Sound Recordings (ANSCR) to organize our CDs (librarians LOVE acronyms…the rest of the world, not so much!). Most public libraries adopted this method since it was released in 1969. Some still use it today. It goes without saying that the world has changed drastically since its adoption, and our decision to replace ANSCR with a more approachable system was not only functional from a shelving perspective, and long overdue, to use a library pun.

So, we set out as a team to evaluate how best to reorganize your music collection.

Librarians Kate Mills and Gwyneth Stupar are part of the team working on making the library's CD collection easier to browse and search
Librarians Kate Mills and Gwyneth Stupar are part of the team working on making the library’s CD collection easier to browse and search

While there are multiple suggestions and opinions floating around library literature, we started this project by looking at mainstream music services, like the Apple iTunes’ Store and Spotify. Librarians Phil Collins  (Karen interjects: yes, we have a librarian named Phil Collins. Yes, this is awesome in every way.) and Kate Mills researched cutting-edge trends in the music industry so that we would be ahead of the game when new artists hit the Billboard Top 10 List. I visited the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Mount Prospect Public Library, and spoke with the Frankfort Public Library (IL) — 3 public libraries that have undergone similar changes in recent time — to find out what worked and what didn’t for their patrons. As you can see, we took our work seriously!

Actually, what we did was awesome. Let me give you a real-life example. Say you wanted to find Hootie and the Blowfish’s first album, Cracked Rear View. In ANSCR, this CD was located under:

MR
HOOTIE
CRV
H 3-2

What does that even MEAN? Someone even asked why we were calling it “Mr. Hootie”. Who could blame them? Now the CD is neatly shelved as:

POP/ROCK
Hootie & the Blowfish
Cracked Rear View

No, this album is NOT by Mr. Hootie - but the library's old shelving system might have made you think so!
No, this album is NOT by Mr. Hootie – but the library’s OLD classification system might have made you think so!

I am happy to reveal our new music categories: POP/ROCK, BLUES/JAZZ, CHRISTIAN/GOSPEL, CLASSICAL, COUNTRY/FOLK, HOLIDAY, OPERA, RAP, SOUNDTRACKS, WORLD, and MOOD MUSIC. Likewise, we have new, colorful signage above each shelf that makes it easier to browse. Our Technical Services Department has been working hard to ensure that when each CD comes back, it has a clean new case, is reclassified with a new label, and shelved under its new category.

The only two categories that are not fully classified at this time are CLASSICAL and SOUNDTRACKS. As you can imagine, these are categories with several subcategories within them. In the meantime, we invite you to visit our Naxos Music Database, where you can listen to a wealth of classical music and watch musical performances. Naxos has great stuff on it, but it is different from Freegal. You listen by streaming the music, rather than downloading it. Try it over a Sunday morning brunch some time, or create a streaming playlist for your next dinner party.

Come on over and browse the new CD shelving at the library. More titles are being added every week as our Tech Services department gets the CDs newly packaged and labeled.
Come on over and browse the new CD shelving at the library. More titles are being added every week as our Tech Services department gets the CDs newly packaged and labeled.

We invite you to visit and check out some CDs, or, download music at home via Freegal, or stream classical performances via Naxos. So much music and it’s all yours with your Barrington Area Library card!


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