Saturday, November 18, 2006

The library and music

It seems that this week is turning into a minor music week for me. First there was Emm Gryner on Thursday - good concert where the new tunes from her latest album, The Summer of High Hopes, really shone, but the show seemed way too short (particularly given the price of the tickets: $12 plus an astounding $6 Ticketmaster "convenience" fee; it's amazing what those Ticketmaster bastards get away with) - and tonight it's a concert at the main branch of the Toronto Public Library. Yes, you read right: the TPL is hosting a concert! It's a free concert (although I think all the tickets have been snapped up; I was fortunate to obtain one from a librarian friend of mine) that is being labeled as a show "launching Toronto Public Library's new local music CD collection." Five artists are on the bill (none of whom, of course, I've heard of): Elliott Brood, Great Lake Swimmers, LAL, The Old Soul and Shad. And even though the music might not appeal to an aging non-hipster as myself, this is an event I'm happy to attend and support. I mean, think about: a concert at the library!

Given my profession, it's no surprise that I love libraries. I spent a big chunk of my childhood at the Roxboro Public Library in Montreal's West Island. And my teenage years in the suburban hell of Mississauga were partially endurable because of the Central Library on Hurontario (since demolished, I think) where I discovered both the joys of the New Yorker magazine and jazz (via the library's cassette collection). Given the amount of time I spent in libraries as a child and teenager, it's amazing that it took me so many years to figure out that my ideal profession was in a library. Even a year and a half into my current job, I still get a buzz thinking about where I work, particularly when I have to do "stacks retrieval" (we have a closed stacks, standard for a rare book library) which allows me to wander our various floors in search of some old, valuable book.

Those of us "in the know" about how wonderful libraries are don't need much prodding to use the services they offer. Yet marketing has never been a particular strength of most libraries. It's one of the reasons why the TPL is throwing this concert (there was one a couple of weeks ago at the North York Central Library): to say, "Hey, we're out here, use us." It's particularly important to get younger people aware of what the library can offer - and it doesn't hurt to show that it can somewhat hip by carrying a good, eclectic selection of music. (I've been relying heavily on the TPL's CD collection of late, especially for classical and opera which can be terribly expensive to purchase.)

So even though I might be one of the older patrons at this show tonight, I'm sure to have a great time. And on the plus side, I imagine I won't be the only one with braces on his teeth...

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