Tag Archives: On that note

Free mp3s and year-end reviews

Greetings On that Note readers!

To help spread some holiday cheer I thought I’d tip everyone off to Amazon.com’s offering of 1 free mp3 download per day through December 25th. They’re all holiday-related and some of the recent artists featured include the ever-popular Mannheim Steamroller and the Barenaked Ladies with Michael Bublé (wow!)

It’s also the season when the music pundits start offering up their year-end best-of lists. One of my favorite indie-type online music magazines is offering its year-end best-of lists from regularly contributing writers. Dusted Magazine publishes daily (M-F) reviews of new music, artist interviews, and show reviews, covering a variety of genres. It was co-founded by Otis Hart, a fellow Middlebury Alum, to boot! End of the year reviews for 2008 and previous years are in the Features section.

Happy listening and reading!

Opera In Middlebury?

I have to admit, I’m not really the biggest fan of opera, but when I found out that the Metropolitan Opera was broadcasting some of its performances to movie theaters in HD, I was intrigued. And when I found out that the Palace 9 in South Burlington was showing John Adam’s Doctor Atomic, my wife and I decided to go. We liked it so much that we went back for another this past weekend, Berlioz’s Le Damnation de Faust. Both were wonderful, and if you’re so inclined, I urge you to check out the schedule. To make it even cooler, Middlebury’s own Town Hall Theater is showing several Met operas in the series beginning with Puccini’s La Rondine in January, so support your local theater and enjoy some amazing performances.

Feedback On The Music Library

In October, we set up a poster asking for feedback on the Music Library as a physical space. We received many excellent comments. We’ve reproduced these below, along with some of our thoughts about them.

1. More colors; this library is gray

We agree! We’ll be looking for ways to brighten it up.

2a. A warmer temperature! Like 5 degrees more… and new headphones

2b. Why is it so COLD in here?

2c. Seriously it is way too COLD in here!!!

2d. It’s COLD.

Unfortunately, the temperature of the library is not something we have control over. However, we will take these comments to the building manager for the CFA.

3. Install flash on the computers so we can listen to myspaces

Your wish is our command! Well, okay, not all the time… but in this case it is! We have this now.

4a. Some of the headphones need attention. There’s static in the sound, and they often only play on one side.

4b. I think it’s scratchy knobs on the stereos… volumes in particular

4c. Yes, sound quality is often a problem

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’ll check it out. It could either be a problem with the phones or the pots on the equipment could need cleaning.

5a. Big blue chairs like Armstrong but also connected to CD, DVD players, headphones, etc.

5b. More soft chairs

5c. With arms, near the listening stations

5d. Comfy chairs would rock (3)

5e. Couches (3)

5f. Chairs are uncomfortable.

One of the things we’d like to do is provide more flexibility and comfort in the listening areas, and comfy new chairs (and maybe even couches!) are part of that plan. Unfortunately, the College, like the rest of the country, is currently experiencing difficult times economically, but we’ll continue to work on this.

6. Larger Browsing section; bring back staff picks table; ability to browse older CDs.

We have brought back the staff picks section, now located near the reference area. We’re glad you like this. Everyone who works in the Music Library is an avid listener as well, so it’s great for us to have the chance to share some of our favorite music with all of you!

As far as the browsing selections: unfortunately, we’re somewhat limited by space, but, even more, it takes a fair amount of time to maintain the browsing section and cycle materials in and out. (As I’m sure you’ve noticed, things get out of order there pretty rapidly as it is…) Ideally, all of the CDs would be browsable, but that’s not simply not feasible given the way our space is set up. You can use MIDCAT to browse CDs online however – ask one of the Music Library staff to show you how to do this. – although we realize it’s not quite the same thing.

7. More carrels would be great. – Noted. We’ll bear this in mind as we plan our renovation.

8a. Vending machine (beverages) please!

8b. Seconded, snacks too

8c. Yes, food!

8d. Please! We need caffeine!

8e. How about coffee?

We agree! We’ll see what we can do. We’ve been trying to get a vending machine in the CFA for years, but the CFA is a shared space and other residents of the building have voiced some concerns. We’ll keep trying!

9. (Re: photo of colorful library): This is beautiful! Is there money for this kind of renovation? The colors are soothing, good for a library!

10a. (Re: more art on walls?): Portrait of Beethoven, no. Student art maybe. Less annoying carpet definitely

10b. Yes to art

OK, we’ll talk with the Museum and the Art Dept. to see what we can come up with

11. The carrels with music stands could use some CD players, etc. There’s no way to listen to music in there. – Noted, thanks

12. No one uses that middle room as it is. – Noted, thanks

13. ROBOTS – though our robot is not as cool as this one, we do have one…

14. (Re: small, round tables with 3-4 chairs for study groups?):

14a. Yes (2)

14b. No (2)

Opinion seems to be divided on the table issue. Though we’re not sure yet exactly what it will look like, we do plan on having some space available for group study.

15. Computer stations are ugly and impractical.

We agree 100%! We’ll be investigating ways to make the space more open and attractive, while still retaining privacy and quiet spaces to work.

16. (Re: long, rectangular tables with lamps?)

16a. Yes (2)

16b. No (1)

So, how about this?

17a. Take staircase out of the library and make access to the second floor classroom from the door on the 2nd floor! DUH!

17b. Seconded.

Okay, we’ll get right on this! Actually, the staff have discussed this, and we’d love to see this happen, for all sorts of reasons. However, as you might imagine, it’s not a trivial endeavor, since the staircase inside the library is connected to the staircase outside the library.

18. (Re: space to use laptops and spread out work?): Yes, and get Ethernet cords!

Yes, tables and workspace to use spreadout, use laptops, etc. would be great. We have added Ethernet cords for borrowing. They’re located next to the printer.

19a. Meditation/rest/nap room to lie down after long hours of studying – Noted, thanks

19b. 2nd! More ZEN. That’d rock. Beanbag chairs, even.

Maybe we can get a little sand garden or something installed. We’ll check it out…

20a. (Re: suggestion for new equipment/software, like Mac workstations)

20b. Macs (3)

Macs are definitely part of the plan.

Who we are

There are several people responsible for keeping the Music Library humming. Over the next few weeks we’ll feature profiles of all the staff, but for now, here’s a brief introduction.

  • Dan Frostman – he’s the guy you usually see sitting in back of the Circulation Desk. Dan coordinates many of the functions of the Music Library, from scheduling students to selecting CDs to managing the reserves… the list goes on and on. He plays a mean oboe too.
  • Joy Pile – Joy splits her time between the Music Library and the Main Library, serving as Research & Instruction librarian and liaison to the music department, as well as to the foreign language departments. Got a tough music question? Joy will help you find the answer. She plays viola too!
  • Jess Isler – our resident indie rock expert and cataloging/acquistions associate. Jess is the newest member of the Music Library staff, and we feel lucky to have her. She’s a Middlebury grad and current library school graduate student.
  • Terry Simpkins – I also spend a lot of time over at the Main Library, where I serve as Director of Collection Management. I used to be the Music Cataloger here, and still try to spend some time each week selecting and cataloging music for the library. I’m a former drummer and organist, current amateur ragtime pianist, and jazz, soul, blues, reggae, and rock fanatic.