On Jan. 24, the Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL) announced a new vinyl record collection at the West Side branch and Main Library. Both locations will feature listening stations where visitors can use turntables to listen to the new records.
Library members can also check out five records at a time and even borrow turntables to take home with them. Due to limited supply, patrons may only borrow one turntable at a time. Those who visit either location don’t need a library card to listen to the records on-site, only to check them out. The GRPL is also accepting donations of vinyl records.
Marketing and Communications Manager Kristen Krueger-Corrado said that the idea of introducing vinyl into the libraries stemmed from a surge in the use of vinyl by local musicians.
“Our staff was interested in pursuing a local music collection and discovered that local musicians were switching formats from CD to vinyl,” Krueger-Corrado said. “We decided that it would be interesting to expand the new collection more broadly.
The goal of this new project is to help create an experience around the vinyl format, there will be turntables both present in the libraries as well as being available for checkout.
Krueger-Corrado said that the new listening stations foster a sense of community in the libraries.
“They can provide a moment of pause in your day,” Krueger-Corrado said. “We’re experimenting with micro collections like this one in our libraries. Our goal is for patrons to interact with our collections in new ways. This can be seen in our vinyl area where we curate not only records, but books and DVDs to highlight material related to one subject.”
In 2021, more vinyl records were sold than CDs for the first time since 1986 according to Recording Industry Association of America’s year-end report.
“By lending portable record players and vinyl, we hope that our patrons will try a new format that they haven’t used before (or used many years ago.),” Krueger-Corrado said. “By providing both the equipment and the records, it makes using the collection more accessible.”
Krueger-Corrado said that the GRPL is currently prototyping the collection at two of its locations.
Offering a new collection of vinyl also offers benefits to the Grand Rapids Public Library, as it helps them connect with a new group of visitors. Krueger-Corrado said that this aspect of the project was her favorite.
“Engaging with a new patron base and having conversations about music with our patrons,” Krueger-Corrado said. “It’s exciting to watch patrons discover and interact with the collection.”
For more information about the Grand Rapids Public Library as well as the new collection of vinyl records and turntables, visit their website or contact their customer service department at [email protected] or call (616) 988-5400.