Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Development of a Regional Musical Collection

Wanser, J. (2014). Collecting and Collaborating to Build Community: The Evolution of a Local Music Collection at a Small Liberal Arts College Library. Technical Services Quarterly, 31(4), 332-357.


This article tracks the recent development (from 2005 to 2013) of a regional music collection.  A small college in a small rural area develops and implements plans to create a collection of Northeast Ohio music to provide education and recreation, and to create more ties to the local community.

In 2005, the Hiram College library had a sizeable music collection alongside a music department.  Listed are the goals created by these librarians to build this specialized regional collection. Then, the construction of the program is described.  The decision was made to focus on collecting recordings rather than other ephemera.  An acquisition plan had to be established:  $2,500 a year was allocated which bought 150 titles a year, exchanging t-shirts for recordings brought recordings in, by searching through shops, flea markets, garage sales more recordings were found.  Continuing the project at the library, the librarians have had a task to find and connect with knowledgeable people.  And aside from funding, cataloging has been the other greatest challenge.

During the almost ten years of this projects, alongside other means, the librarians used social media, as it continued to change during this time, to find music and promote the collection.   Analyses of circulation and development is included, as well as tracking numbers of different kinds of musicians, and how their positions and numbers affect costs of works and development.  Doing this work, Hiram has constructed a unique collection that larger institutions around them do not have.  In conclusion after evaluating the original goals the author states further publicity is needed to increase public visibility.


This project is a great example of collection and connections development.  Even though the author writes of modest success as he evaluates his goals, I view this collection development project as admirable and inspirational.

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