November 18, 2014
Want to learn to play the ukulele? You can check one out of the library in Chicago or Portland
by Claire Kelley
Highland Park Library in Chicago has a new ukelele collection, and patrons can use their library card to check out an instrument with accompanying material to learn how to play. There will be 10 ukeleles available for circulation.
The Chicago Tribune quoted Jane Coway, the library’s executive director, who explained the reasoning behind the new musical offering.
“Libraries provide free access—to knowledge, information and creativity. Adding these instruments to our collection enables us to further enrich the lives of our community.”
Chad Clark, the new-media librarian, is a ukelele, violin, mandolin, and bass guitar player, and he pitched the idea to Conway. He also spoke to the Chicago Tribune:
“It’s more about getting back to the roots and providing experiential opportunities for the community… The mission of libraries has never been about getting the latest mystery novel and getting 400 copies so everyone who wants one can have one.”
The new collection will be launched this week, and master ukelele player Jake Shimabukuro will play at the library on Thursday, November 18.
The main public library in Portland, Maine also launched “Ukulele Lending Library” last year.
“Ukes have had a hipster resurgence,” said Dana Trumann, owner of Old Orchard Beach’s Moose County Music & Surf, which donated the ukes for the Ukulele Lending Library. “And we thought, why not bring the instrument from the beach to the library? It is just one more migration for the funny little instrument.”
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.