Powassan library launches musical instrument lending program

The Powassan and District Union Public Library is launching a new program.

Library board member Bernadette Kerr says it's the Musical Instrument Lending Library.

Kerr, who lives in Chisholm, got the idea from her next door neighbour Don Butterworth. Larger libraries have this type of musical program and Kerr embraced Butterworth's suggestion.

She says the other library board members were also enthusiastic when she raised the notion of a musical lending program.

The program's success lies with people donating working musical instruments they no longer intend to use.

Butterworth kickstarted the program by handing over a quality six-string guitar. Since then other instruments have arrived at the library including several percussion instruments, a couple of ukuleles, tambourines and shakers.

“It's our vision to have a wide variety of instruments for adults and kids,” Kerr said. “This is great for people who may want to try learning how to play a particular instrument without having to invest in one right away.”

Kerr says there is another advantage. She says sometimes children show an interest in musical instruments and the parents buy that instrument. They then learn their child's interest in the instrument was temporary and they're stuck with an instrument no one uses.

Kerr says the Powassan library lending program can help parents delay buying expensive musical instruments until they determine their child's interest is longer lasting.

Although the program is very new, Kerr says some residents have started to borrow the instruments. What the library board is looking for is a wide variety of instruments that can be borrowed regularly and the board also welcomes duplicates.

Kerr says the board is looking for harmonicas, recorders, and string instruments like banjos and fiddles. And she's not ruling out portable keyboards either despite their larger size.

She's encouraging residents to think about donating instruments they no longer want or use.

“If it's just sitting in your closet and you're not using it anymore, please consider that someone else can use it,” she said.

The lending program isn't limited to people borrowing musical instruments.

Kerr says the Powassan library also has a piano on site people can reserve to play or to get lessons from library employee Breya Market-Matthews.

Music has been part of Kerr's life since she was four years old and sang at a church concert.

Her interest never waned and over the years she learned how to play several instruments including piano and she is now learning how to play the upright bass.

Kerr says people who can donate musical instruments can contact the library at 705-724-3618.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget