Our friends across the pond have the right idea about music and libraries: put live music and solid music collections in the library, and you will attract a whole new crowd of users. Get It Loud in Libraries has hosted over 70 shows already (including performances by Adele and Juliette Lewis) and hosts 8-12 each year. Tickets are not free (approx. 8 euro), but the nominal price isn’t even close to being a hindrance. In a recent interview, founder of GILIL said in response to How have you had to adapt to cuts to arts funding?, “The ethos for GILIL has been to simply keep doing what we are doing and make times better for everyone through great live music and to show the community that libraries are very relevant and necessary in 2011.”
I absolutely love the idea of collaboration between musicians, librarians, and library collections. Instead of just hosting a gig and saying, “See you later” the libraries are building their music collections. This is not just a one-and-done program, it is an on-going effort to appeal to a whole different kind of library user. (GILIL even uses teens as volunteers “creating art for posters, front of house duties, shadowing sound engineers etc.”!!)
One the heels of that interview, I read about Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center’s new 5,500 sqft space called “YOUmedia — a Digital Library Space for Teens.” Teens, mentors, and librarians meet here to use modern digital equipment to play and learn. One librarian said, “It’s really a shift from thinking of a library as a repository to a community center, a place where things actually happen.” Which is exactly what we want our libraries to be!
Naturally the comments under the article were full of negativity. Wasted money and space, books no longer relevant, today’s teens not being challenged…blahblahblah. Nothing new. Same old sob story. Well you know what, whiners? Go tell all of that to the teens who use the space. Tell them they aren’t worth the time, money, or space. And you know what they’ll do? Shrug their shoulder because that is exactly what so many adults have been telling them for years. Luckily CPL and their funding agencies disagree with you crotchety old fools.