Side 1: What Revolves but Does Not Circulate?

  • Martha Sutherland Eugene Public Library
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In May of 2019, the Eugene Public Library purchased a 1971 Panasonic record player and a collection of 30 vinyl records spanning many genres of music. Our Tech Services team cataloged and tagged each record. We planned to offer them to the public for in-house use and an immersive listening experience. With this in mind, we created a Record Listening Station. Any person who walks through our doors, with or without a library card, is welcome to sit back and listen to records through library headphones. We also offer a headphone splitter so patrons can listen with a friend. At the core of this endeavor were two priorities: our library’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and the goal of building community through the collection.

The process of building community begins with communication. There are many ways of discovering what patrons want and what they think. A blue binder at the Record Listening Station serves as an interactive User’s Guide so patrons can contribute ideas. Our DIY Guide includes everything from simple instructions on how to use the turntable to magazine ads from 1971 featuring our vintage record player. Patrons can also find concise album reviews for most of the albums in the collection and blank space for them to write their own reviews. A handy purchase suggestion sheet was how we ended up with a headphone splitter and many new albums. So far, patrons have made more than forty album recommendations and one has written a review. I included the patron review on our Record Listening Station LibGuide to enhance community participation.


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Author Biography

Martha Sutherland, Eugene Public Library

An analog girl in a digital world, Martha Sutherland aims to bring engaging musical experiences to the patrons of the Eugene Public Library. Her work as a Library Assistant in Adult Services includes planning monthly record listening programs, staffing public desks, access services, Book a Librarian, and scheduling for her department. Outside of work she enjoys hanging out at the House of Records with her husband, thrift and antique shopping with her teenage daughter, karaoke night with colleagues, and reading true crime.

How to Cite
Sutherland, M. (2020). Side 1: What Revolves but Does Not Circulate?. OLA Quarterly, 26(1), 21-25.