ASW 2017 - Ellie Miles

16. June 2017 - 10:00

The wonderful thing about ASWs is the mix of content, from the technical (such as the copyright session), to the musicological (such as the Villa Lobos session), and the chance to see what everyone else is doing in their libraries. I’m always really interested in hearing what other music libraries are up to as there’s no better way to get inspiration for my own library! (Surrey Performing Arts) 

Educational partnerships are something we would love to build on in Surrey and the benefits are numerous, the Foundling Museum, for example, benefits from free conservation work from the students. It also loans exhibitions to museums, libraries and galleries which raises the profile and use of the collection and attracts new and returning visitors.

Exhibitions are something that the Barbican Music Library has become well known for which has led to some high profile partnerships, including with orchestras, artists and musicians. The Barbican Music Library publicise their exhibitions in the local and national media and, similarly to the Foundling Museum, lend their exhibitions to other venues. Revenue is raised through exhibition-related sales (e.g. badges) and all of this helps to raise the profile of the Library. One of their exhibitions used materials borrowed from the National Jazz Archive, and this inspired us in Surrey to approach the National Jazz Archive for a display for Black History Month in October 2016.

A presentation that took my breath away was the collaboration between Trinity College, Dublin and the Irish Traditional Music Archive who have digitised and made freely available online the James Goodman manuscripts of Irish traditional music containing over 2,000 melodies. This is a resource that I can only dream about producing in Surrey, but it goes to show what can be achieved through partnership working and has really inspired me to look into ways that the Surrey Performing Arts Library can reach out to local organisations in order to enhance the service we offer, reach new audiences and raise our profile.

The visit to Exeter Public Library was really interesting, as the Library is run by Libraries Unlimited rather than the county council (in a wonderful recently refurbished building), and is one of the most visited libraries in the country. The Centre Manager explained that there is a lot more freedom under Libraries Unlimited, which is really fascinating to hear from a county council-run viewpoint. A visit to the famous Fab Lab was a must, but it was also really interesting to see the range of music stock on the public shelves, and the music sets and play sets in the basement, particularly as Surrey borrows and lends music sets to/from Devon

The highlight of the weekend for me was identifying a tune that a customer had emailed to me saying I was his last hope! I’m so grateful to Richard Buxton for identifying ‘The Policeman’s Holiday’, which I’m really quite fond of now. I emailed my customer who was delighted and replied: ‘You are amazing!...I have the picture of all those librarians humming to themselves instead of concentrating on the conference sessions!...I am thrilled!’

Many thanks!


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