In a previous lifetime I wrote a filler piece for ARTiculate magazine that went viral (ish). It was called “10 Things You Can Do To Embrace Local Culture,” and you can get the full list at wkartscouncil.com.
Number 7 reads:
Sing. Learn a song composed by a local musician and sing it: in the shower, in the car, walking down the street. Drive your co-workers crazy. It doesn’t matter that you sound like a wombat in heat. When you go to sleep, dream about it. Now, teach it to someone else.
Okay, so, another confession (isn’t that what these columns are for?):
I sing in the car. I sing, lungs full of air, mouth full of notes, windows rolled up. I sing along to favourite CDs, and as long as the volume is loud enough, I sound great. By the time I get to work at the library, I’m in a pretty good mood. I DO NOT sing in the library because it is, well, a library, and I just might sound like a wombat in heat.
Music is therapy, never mind fun. It can be a livelihood, and it can be a calling. It’s inspiring to those who create it, and those who enjoy it. And I’m happy to report that the library has acquired some great materials to keep players playing and singers singing. Thanks to a 2012 CBT Community Initiatives grant, the Nelson Library is now better positioned than ever to embrace — and encourage — local culture and art-making.
The project, which we called, “Inspiration at Your Library” set out to be exactly that. We offered workshops last year in music appreciation and drawing graphic novels, and we bought great new materials to get your creative juices flowing, or find your inner wombat, whichever.
Choirs take note! We now have the full 20-CD set of teaching discs to complement the perennial favourite group singing songbook Rise up Singing (782.42 RIS). Take them home and learn songs about freedom or hard times, travelling songs and lullabies, sea shanties and songs of hope. There are songs by John Prine and John Lennon, Carol Johnson and Carole King, a couple of Guthries and about 300 others.
Voice is the first instrument, but even wombats like a little accompaniment. We now have a great complement of Homespun instructional DVDs to help you keep the beat or tickle the ivories. Check out DVDs on bluegrass banjo, honky tonk piano, flatpicking, and slow jam. Learn fiddle with Natalie McMaster or take a Groove Workshop with Victor Wooten. Check out the “new” shelf and learn something new.
Books include The Future of the Music Business: How to Succeed with the New Digital Technologies (780.68 GOR) — in case sheer enjoyment isn’t enough — and the 2012 Songwriter’s Market (782.42 TWO).
Just to round things out, we also acquired great books on visual arts, including printmaking, fibre arts, art movements, and others to round out our collection. In the children’s department, new books on all things creative are now on the shelves, from Nature in Art (J704.943 BAU) to So you want to be a Rock Star (E VER).
Not everyone gets to be a rock star. Some closet rock stars are really librarians with wombat alter-egos. But the world is a better place for art, and we do well to embrace it — starting at your Library.
Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Her column runs every other Friday