MLA News

Official News from the Music Library Association

Outreach for Music Librarians: Editor Interview

I’m particularly excited about this new publication, because “outreach” is in my title! If you’re looking for creative ways to reach your users, Outreach for Music Librarians, part of the Basic Manual Series published by A-R Editions may be the book for you. Editor Scott Stone talks more about the book here. ~Lisa Shiota, Publicity & Outreach Officer

Q: How did this book come to be written?

Scott: When I was an undergraduate music student, I had no clue the vast amount of materials available in the music library! I’m 100% sure that my music education (and possibly just my general life enjoyment) would have been significantly higher if I’d been more in touch with the many services and resources available to me—knowledge that I might have gained if there had been more outreach from the music library to the music students. With that in mind throughout my career, I’ve tried many different ways to reach out to users so that they might have a better chance of exploring the wonders of our library. This book is an attempt to bring together some of my own thoughts, ideas, and projects on the subject with those of some of our many talented colleagues in MLA who are also passionately engaged with user outreach.

Q: Did the authors of each chapter come up with their own subjects, or were there specific topics you had wanted them to address?

Scott: I asked authors to write on specific subjects. Generally these topics were based on presentations I’d seen them give at MLA conferences. There were a few chapters that took a bit longer to figure out though, and the individual author and I brainstormed based on gaps in the book’s initial chapters and the overall message I wanted to present. For example, the book didn’t originally have a chapter on designing print and web outreach materials, but it turned out to be a great addition to the volume because it provides so much information that we should know but generally never learn during the Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) education.

Q: What is one thing readers of this book should not miss?

Scott: I’m not a parent, but this feels like asking a parent to name their favorite child. HA! If I had to choose only one, then I’d say that you can’t miss Laurie Bailey’s chapter on programming and creating partnerships in public libraries. It’s just really inspirational to me. If I got to choose a second section, then you also shouldn’t miss the plethora of practical tips Misti Shaw presents in her chapter on “inreach” (i.e. creating a welcoming physical environment in the music library as part of outreach to users).

Q: Why do music libraries in particular have a critical need for outreach?

Scott: I always love to talk with the new music undergraduates each fall and tell them how much music we have in the library. It absolutely blows their minds! I think it’s shocking to them because so many people have a fairly standard picture of what a library is—a repository of books. Music libraries in particular need to engage in outreach so that potential users know we exist and the many ways we can work with them. I think this user awareness and a demonstration of how vital we can be in the creative, scholarly, and pedagogical music processes is growing even more important as music libraries are needing to increasingly advocate to administration just to keep their collections on the shelves and their lights on. Having lots of music library friends and supporters will only ever be a good thing.