The former main public library in Cincinnati, Ohio. Built 1874; demolished 1955.

My local public library has a lot of books in it. Indeed, from a distance — which is how I usually see it — it undoubtedly looks a lot like a public library ought to look.

As I’ve just discovered, though, it no longer has any books about music. No, in all the time I’ve known it (a decade or so), it never had very many; and most of them were about pop music and its top-ranking cash cows. But now it has none at all.

Also: it no longer has any printed music. Again, I only ever saw a few items there in the past, and as most of them were either collections of pop songs or the odd remnants of an age of public-access choral singing, I never had any use for them. But now it has no printed music at all.

Oh, and it no longer has any classical CDs: the tiny collection  of ‘popular classics’ discs that used to be there has vanished altogether. In fact, it’s not just the classical stuff that’s gone: the place now has no CDs at all — though it does have hundreds and hundreds of movies on DVD…

Comment superfluous … I hope


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4 thoughts on “FFS…

  1. Liverpool Central Library used to have one of the finest music libraries in the world. Lack of space was cited as the reason why this was catastrophically emasculated in the 1990s. Today, there are just two shelving units of books and maybe 4 of printed music. Like your library, pop music predominates. We are becoming a musically impoverished nation Mark. Music is marginalised in schools if it appears at all. Libraries are closing everywhere. And the famed BBC Gramophone Library which used to be the envy of the world, no longer even exists!


  2. And yet on my internet radio I have a 24 hr Mozart station, another for Blues, and if I ask for banjo music, it asks ‘What kind”?
    Is it not more a case of the availability of music, rather than the medium through which it comes – the march of Progress insists that we deal with a new instruction leaflet far more often than we would like — perhaps buildings are no longer necessary for storage and dissemination?
    We store information in little bits of carbon now, I do hope that the information does not suffer at the hands of the vehicle.


  3. As a child I recall withdrawing piano scores from the local library (Dumbarton, Scotland). I got some Chopin that way, but also did grievous harm to Debussy. It was fun. I should have thought that that resource might be more important nowadays as sheet music is so expensive. How many of our kids can get into that playground?

    Hey-ho. There are some good internet sources for scores – maybe you should do a blog on them.


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