Music libraries facing closure, redundancies and more

Excellent post by Isobel Ramsden about recent music library news and the impact they have with regard to sustaining amateur music groups around the country.

Update 30/3/16 Good news, I heard yesterday that Leeds City Council library will be taking on the Yorkshire Music Library. Hopefully more details will emerge soon.


I was sad to learn last week that Yorkshire Music Library has had to close. This is due to its parent company, Fresh Horizons, going into liquidation. Yorkshire Music Library had the largest collection of performance sets in the UK. It loaned over half a million scores and orchestral sets to 2,000 choirs and orchestras (Glover, 2016). Two librarians ran this popular service and both have been made redundant.

Apparently, the Society of Chief Librarians Yorkshire and Humberside, who are the legal custodians of the stock, are trying to find a way make the collection available again (Making Music, 2016 (a)).

I met one of the librarians, Sophie Anderson, at a IAML Study Weekend in 2014. She seemed really lovely, bright and passionate about her job. I hope her talents can quickly be put to use in a similar job elsewhere.

Unfortunately other regional music libraries are also reducing their services due to cuts in funding…

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Library School – Data, Law and Ethics module

I took this module last autumn, one of the last two of the PG Dip. For my general post about my librarianship course, go here.

I had really high hopes for this module. I thought we’d get into all kinds of meaty issues I was really interested in like privacy, surveillance and censorship. We did address these issues and others, but at a very high, broad-brush level. The module had to cram a lot in, so I felt I got an overview of the main issues but little to no in-depth engagement. It also placed a big emphasis on legal frameworks so we covered a lot of laws and government policy which was fairly dry. I would have appreciated learning about a law, say the Copyright, Design and Patents Act (1988) and then delving into a relevant example that raised all sorts of uncomfortable questions and applications. There were some attempts to engage via activities you were supposed to do which were helpful, but I felt this classes’ subject matter would work better in an in-person context where you can have discussions.

The module was structured as a series of workbooks that we worked through with some discussion board posting online. There were two assignments to complete. One was a discussion board post on a legal case or area of legislation and the other was a topical essay or critical analysis of journal articles. I would have loved to do the essay, but in the end time pressure forced me to do the article review because I knew I wouldn’t have time do all the reading I wanted to for the essay. One of the articles on the approved list was about the library’s role in disaster preparedness and looked at how libraries met people’s needs after Hurricane Katrina in 2010 on the Gulf Coast (Braquet, 2010). This was obviously of personal interest to me (here’s my Katrina post) and I found that the study and others on this topic showed that libraries basically kept on doing what they do best in the midst of terrible situations, viz. providing quality information, internet access and a safe space for all. This was of great value to those communities and of course is now a major talking point on the value of libraries. See for instance this article about Baltimore public libraries remaining open during the riots last year.


Braquet, D. M. (2010) ‘Library experiences of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans flood survivors’, Libres Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal, 20(1), pp. 1-23. Available at: (Accessed: 7 Dec 2015).

My Bookshelf – Winter 2015

New this post: I’ve made a Pinterest board of my bookshelf for all you visual people out there!

Follow Megan’s board My Bookshelf – Winter 2015 on Pinterest.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

This novel is the first in the Mary Russell series and came highly recommended from my sister. In fan-fiction mode, King reimagines Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic characters (Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson etc) but sets the novel in Edwardian England when Holmes is semi-retired. Mary Russell is a young woman who becomes Holmes’ apprentice and then partner/assistant in crime solving. I really enjoyed this, both for the exciting plot and the plummy idiom in which King writes.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Highly recommend this. Set in modern-day-ish rural Mississippi, the novel explores race, prejudice, identity and how people’s perceptions of events can change them. Franklin brilliantly crafts voices that are at first racially ambiguous (at least to me they were), all the while keeping race as a central theme.

Rags and Bones, edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt

Book of sci-fi short stories where the authors take various fairy tales/stories as inspiration. Weird, wonderful and sometimes very challenging. One that particularly struck me was a futuristic, nihilisitc love story by Rick Yancey where an elite has conquered death by means of downloading your personality into a new body (Dollhouse anyone?), whilst the rest of humanity live and die and serve the rich folks. Neil Gaiman’s reinterpretation of Sleeping Beauty was also quite good.

Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea by Adam Roberts

This was an interesting book that went mental from the middle point onward. Referencing Jules Verne’s classic work, Roberts sets up the story on a top secret French nuclear submarine’s maiden voyage. The first dive is begun but then somehow the sub keeps descending for, you guessed it, trillions of leagues into an implied other dimension/world. Highly fantastical, the crew encounter all sorts of crazy things both outside the sub and within themselves.

The Portable Door by Tom Holt

Picked this up randomly from my local library, based on the blurb which said Holt was similar to Terry Pratchett or some such. Started oddly but then turned into a very quirky and funny novel about magic and awkward Brits!

The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland

Another random pick from my library based on the plot blurb (circus acts in Victorian London). Interesting characters including *spoiler* an amnesiac man who cannot be hurt or seemingly ever die who, it’s implied at the end, is a fallen angel. The novel was a bit sex-obsessed, not in terms of racy scenes but what the characters were concerned with / valued. Interesting concept but a bit tiresome and angst-ridden!

The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks

I don’t read much non-fiction but this was excellent. A diary cum memoir about life as a shepherd in the Lake District. Fascinating reading about such a different way of life and how Rebanks reconciles their ancient customs with the modern world.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Finally got round to reading this best seller set in a city I used to live in, Jackson, MS. Brilliant story about race and friendship amongst women in the 1960s when things were still really bad in Jackson (a period still within living memory). Well worth your time.