We had a great time at the Public Library Association 2016 Conference! Co-founders Kelly Hiser and Preston Austin traveled to Denver for the conference, where they participated in several events about digital local music collections. Here are a few highlights from our trip.

  • “[Your Community Here]: Engaging Audiences and Artists with Local Digital Collections.” In this PLA program, Kelly, Alex Carruthers (Edmonton PL, and Guy Hankel (Madison PL) gave a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to create the Yahara Music Library and Capital City Records. Kelly also spoke about the impetus behind these sites, highlighting how they sit at the intersection of two important trends. The first is the long-standing relationship between public libraries and their local creative communities, which has recently been reflected in library initiatives like makerspaces, publishing initiatives, and art galleries. The second is the increasingly digital nature of music distribution, which is having a big impact on libraries’ abilities to provide access to music and preserve it for the future. While local collections like Capital City Records and the Yahara Music Library can’t solve all of the problems that exist for music librarians, Kelly argued that they are one powerful response that plays to libraries’ strengths by leveraging existing relationships with the community.

  • Local Music Meetup. We also co-hosted a meetup of public librarians and software developers who work with or have an interest in digital local music collections at the Denver Public Library (home to its own local music project Volume). This informal conversation focused on the successes and challenges we’ve experienced in building these kinds of collections. One of our biggest take-aways was that library digital local collections do become hubs for creative communities. Many librarians reported that their local music projects were helping them to build new relationships with artists, music listeners, and arts and civic organizations in their communities. We look forward to continuing the conversation with this dynamic network.


Photo: Preston Austin (Rabble), Greg Mickells (Madison PL), Kelly Hiser (Rabble), Tana Elias (Madison PL), at PLA 2016.