Our journey towards inheriting part of the UK's largest music and drama lending library started when the service, previously based in Wakefield, was threatened with closure.
image Hans Splinter
Pleas from more than 2000 choirs, am-dram groups, bands and orchestras meant the consortium of councils which previously ran the library, opened the service up to tender. It was at this point we decided to use our existing experience in managing libraries to table a bid to run the sheet music part of the service.
Today, Fresh Horizons finds itself with the incredible opportunity to put Deighton on the map. After a successful bid, we are in the early stages of putting the infrastructure in place to transfer The Yorkshire Music Library, which consists of 500,000 pieces of music including vocal scores, part songs, orchestral sets, Brass/Wind Band sets and chamber sets.
The transfer of this service throws up a number of challenges and these are ever changing as we delve deeper into the system and processes we are inheriting.
Some of the challenges consist of basic requirements around making sure the stock “fits” in into the new physical space allocated. Other challenges are much more complex surrounding the design and running of a streamlined service, with a fully customer focussed, community based web site with e-commerce functionality.
Our main challenge is filling our knowledge gaps surrounding the digital requirements and long term potential for the music library management. Both of which are complex in their own way and require constant research.
Adapting an existing service has its advantages and disadvantages as although there is an existing client base, the service needs to continue as normal wherever possible which involves training and a “sensitive” amount of fact finding as the existing staff running the service will be made redundant.
We also have ideas about improving the service, utilising technology to future proof our new found asset. Ideas include an “ask the expert” section to the website, where we aim to harness the expertise of people nationwide.
We will look for conductors, students, music teachers, music retailers and organisations, societies, other libraries etc to support the site and help with questions customers raise, whether that’s types of music recommended, successful repertoires used, locations available for concerts and events – basically anything that they would originally call the Wakefield Library about in the past.
In addition we are looking for support from Music schools and societies to help market our service and to help us develop the stock. We are also seeking customer support to guide us in which music would be beneficial to invest in for the future, to enrich the current collection.
We are very lucky to have the support of Locality, the Creative Coop and their Community Knowledge Transfer programme to help us navigate and consider all of our options around harnessing the power of digital technology.
Additional support is immediately required from cataloguing experts, music librarians and database management organisations which will help to ensure the service continues to run effectively.
We will of course also look for internal support from our own staff, local councils and libraries, memberships and local partnership networks, namely Locality and Making Music. Their help will ensure the service is run according to our company mission and serves our community and customers.
Ultimately we will endeavour to provide a comprehensive, interactive and useful service that we continue to develop in line with its customers’ needs.
Over the coming weeks we will share our planning process and resulting documentation as we begin to find our digital feet. Follow this blog to learn with us as we consider all of our options around utilising digital technology to unleash the full potential of our new found asset.