Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ala biblioteca

Last week I started volunteering at the library, in preparation for my studies for a library science master's degree.

I have always enjoyed going to the library but I am really having a blast volunteering for them.

The Toms River headquarters of the Ocean County Library has an extensive collection of everything, and I've been assigned to volunteer with the Sheet Music librarian.


I love music, really, across genres and time. Who else do you know who likes both Stephen Foster and Faith No More?

This volunteerism is perfect for me. I thank my lucky stars that they stuck me here. I could be helping in the tax code reference library, for example.

Today I helped sort a large pile of donated sheet music. Much of it was original sheet music from the 1930s-1960s. There was one Cole Porter song, loads of 1940s Irish music, a half dozen songs with 'moonlight' in the title and a 1895 copy of Ave Maria. I had to compare whether this was a different version than the version on file already. In many cases the donated copy was a song title not even in the library collection. Hey this is extremely exciting stuff for me.

What is also reassuring is that I am enjoying and succeeding at these tasks, which in turn encourages me in my dreams of becoming a librarian.

I am off Tuesday and am going to poke in that day and see what random task my supervisor has for me. She is just so thrilled I am there because most of her colleagues do not know how to read music and I've been a real detective in helping the collection already.

At my first volunteer session I had to figure out what this mystery song was and put it in page order. It was a 20-page song from the Broadway version of Legally Blonde, a play I have never seen or heard a note of, but because I know who Elle Woods is and can read music, now the library patrons have a proper version to use.
In that same evening I had to process a bunch of ukulele and banjo music. It apparently was very popular as so much of the sheet music dated from the 1930s-1950s was arranged for those two instruments. Who knew.

Anywho what might be the most direct consequence of my volunteerism at the library is I might finally set aside the time to finally learn how to play the uke and banjo. My grandfather knew how to play and I always wanted to learn. After he died I discovered all his old sheet music, including one for "I only have eyes for you" which is my parent's wedding song. The framed copy I gave my parents now hangs in the Galioto hallway.

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