The library's new Volume Denver project will help people discover local music
The library is a building that holds thousands of books. But that doesn't describe the institution's role. Libraries are our memories. They are the place where all the lines eventually connect, where you can trace the progress of time in every direction. With the library's help, you can find the way a single house in Capitol Hill fits into an entire society of millions of people.
Flickr/Rob! Denver's new home for local music
That mission extends well beyond being a repository of books. And as media moves away from the printed page, some forward-thinking libraries are finding new ways to connect people to their communities. To that end, the Denver Public Library is launching a new project to document and share local music.
We told you about Volume Denver back in its planning stages late last year. Basically it will work as a distribution platform, a place where library card holders can browse the musical offerings of their city and learn about the bands featured. People will be able to listen to individual songs or entire albums, try out playlists generated by library staff or even create their own. There will be biographical information and pertinent links to websites, stores and social-media platforms for each band.
DPL was inspired by similar efforts elsewhere in the country. Senior Collection Specialist Joan Hansen has talked to libraries in Iowa City, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor and Toronto about their own programs designed to spotlight the local music scene. She and her staff asked themselves, "What can we do that's unique?" They have spent months developing a system designed to be exceptionally user-friendly.
Which is important, because local music scenes can be difficult to navigate for the completely uninitiated. If you just moved to town, you'd need to find a trusted source of information, follow it until it suggested something appealing, and then track that show or band down to decide if it was worth pursuing further. What Volume Denver offers is an organized, accessible, totally free entry point.
It also helps that an organization like DPL is involved -- its goals are transparent and civic-minded. "We have no profit motive," says Zeth Lietzau, who is leading the team designing and building the site.
"This is the one time [bands] are not getting screwed over," says Dave Wilkinson, who works in the circulation department of the Library and also at record store Wax Trax.
More information on the submission process is on the next page.