We Have a Street Piano!

Have you heard about street pianos? Some cities have taken old upright pianos, refurbished them, had an artist paint them, and have “installed” them in public spaces.

The goal? Let anyone who wants to … play the piano, and share some music – good or bad – with their local community at the same time.

Cool idea!

My library heard about the idea, had a piano donated to us, painted it, and it’s now outside the library, ready for anyone to play. It’s been outside just a few days … I just saw two teens sitting at the piano, wailing away.

Want more info?

Has your library done a similar idea? I’d love to hear about it!

Digital Music Sales tops Physical Music Sales

acoustic guitarDid you catch this article last week on CNN? Digital Music tops Physical Music Sales. Here’s a couple of quotes from the article:

“According to a Nielsen and Billboard report, digital music purchases accounted for 50.3% of music sales in 2011. Digital sales were up 8.4% from the previous year, while physical album sales declined 5%.”

“While services like Napster blazed the trail for online music consumption, offerings like Apple’s 99-cents-a-song iTunes catalog as well as those from a host of startups have broken down traditional music-purchasing barriers. Most customers now prefer shopping online to buying in a store.”

For that matter, you don’t even have to buy music to enjoy it anymore. We finally took down our Christmas decorations last weekend. While doing that, we listened to some classic jazz via Pandora. Obviously, a radio would work here too … but not for the type of music I was listening to!

So … libraries and music. My public library has a pretty large CD collection. We also subscribe to Freegal (a library-oriented service that basically gives patrons 3 free music downloads a week). We have also seen a demo for the library version of Rdio (not impressed yet).

In five year’s time, what will we be doing? How will we be collecting music? Will music still be listed for checkout in our library catalogs? Or will we point patrons to Spotify/Pandora/Rdio/etc?

I’m not sure … what do you think?

guitar pic by Bigstock

Editing Myself – a new song from me

As long-time readers of my blog know, I like to write and share music every once in a blue moon. I don’t know when the next blue moon might be, but it’s the end of the year, so here’s a song!

I’ve been working on a book for much of 2011, and will be doing more writing in 2012 … and I’ve been editing myself a lot … so I thought I’d write a song about editing myself.

Feel free to take a listen (song is embedded above)! I’m playing with Bandcamp too – here’s my Bandcamp page. If you REALLY enjoy the song, feel free to buy it for a whopping $.99 (plus tax, I think). Bandcamp is cool!

OK – the song…

Editing Myself (by David Lee King)

Drinkin lots of coffee, got my writer’s hat on
inkin lines on my laptop, typin into dawn
if it doesn’t measure up, if my copy don’t fly
I’m gonna click and drag it right into my trashcan pile

I am editing myself
I am editing myself
pullin my thesaurus off the shelf
cause I am editing myself

I don’t always scribble everything exactly right
all my words don’t rhyme and my letters seem to fight
I can highlight copy paste to my heart’s content
rewrite what i don’t like until my brain is spent

now i got a rhyming dictionary and I’m lookin up a word
I need three syllables that rhyme with bird
not sure how it’ll fit, it is probably absurd
but if you’ve listened this far, well, you might have overheard

Enjoy, and here’s for a wonderful 2012!

 

Content Creation, Media Labs, and Hackerspaces

Skokie Public Library's Digital Media Lab

I’ve been thinking about content creation and libraries lately. Right now, we collect content – hence our shelves of stuff. Yes, we do many other things too. But if you look at our buildings, they have been, by and large, designed for collections of stuff – for collecting content.

Some libraries are changing that focus (or at least adding on to it) by enabling customers to create their own content in a variety of ways … and it’s pretty interesting stuff!

I’ll lump what I’m seeing into three loose categories:

  • Digital Media Labs
  • Hackerspaces
  • Coworking spaces

Digital Media Labs: These spaces have content creation tools that allow customers to create and share video, music, photography, and design projects. Customers have access to computers with editing software, cameras, camcorders, microphones, and musical keyboards.

The best examples I’ve seen of this so far are Skokie Public Library’s Digital Media Lab and Chicago Public Library’s YouMedia project. Skokie’s lab has a greenscreen wall for video projects; Youmedia includes a small recording studio space.

Hackerspaces: “A hackerspace … is a location where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science, or digital or electronic art (but also in many other realms) can meet, socialise and/or collaborate … hackers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things” (from Wikipedia).

Basically, hackerspaces tend to be public spaces with tools – 3D printers, drill presses, etc. And people make stuff there. Who’s doing this? Well, Allen County Public Library and Fayetteville Free Library are, for starters.

Coworking Spaces: Coworking is a pretty simple concept. Independent workers, freelancers, small business owners, etc. gather in a shared space to share ideas, team up on projects, and get some work done in a more social setting. It’s an alternative to meeting at home or a local coffee shop.

Libraries have unofficially done this for years (how many of you have heard of a patron who runs his/her business from the library? I’ll bet some of you have). But some libraries are going a step or two further by embedding librarians in these spaces, or even offering coworking spaces as part of their services. Meg Knodl, a librarian at Hennepin County Library, is doing this – here’s an article on what Meg is doing. Helsinki City Library has created some coworking spaces – read more about it here.

For more info, check out these articles:

Question – is your library doing something like this? If so, let me know in the comments!

Photo by Skokie Public Library

New Song/Video Announcement and Call for Participation!

Read all about it here! Or just read this … remember that song/video Michael Porter and I created last year? Well… we’re at it again – with Library 101!

Here’s what Michael says:

“Getting into this video is actually really easy. Simply take and share a picture of YOU posing with a 0 and a 1! (Tagging it with library101 on flickr will be really helpful). We even have the flickr group linked above [ok, I linked it here] where you can put your 101 pictures. So c’mon! Do it and get just a little bit famous! Your family and friends will love finding you pop up in the video (and maybe even your coworkers?)! Put your kids in it! How about the family dog!? And you know grandma loves the library too, riiight? :) The most interesting your submission the more it will be featured, so get creative!

Look for the song and video in October of 2009 (debuting at a special “Connecting Through “Lights, Cameras & Action” session at the Internet Librarian Conference in Monterrey, California).”

Now all Michael and I have to do is this:

  • write words for the song
  • Create and record the music
  • Somehow fly Michael to Kansas to record the song and shoot some video
  • Get Michael back to Seattle so he can video edit like a madman
  • collaborate on a multimedia presentation for Internet Librarian like you’ve never seen before…

Whew! I’m already getting psyched!

Pic courtesy of Libraryman