We had the idea to send the book out on the road, much like the characters in the story. We asked “how can this work and how can we help out libraries?” My response was: “make it easy and simple for teen libraries and give them a summer reading program in a box”. Simple things for the library to host and give their community something neat and exciting.
This is what we came up with.
We’re looking for libraries between Boston, MA and Austin, TX to join in on the ride. It’s simple: you host our traveling road show, you get free stuff and a program for teens, and that’s it.
We met over lunch at Kamasouptra and we came up with a simple idea: get beats, teach teens about music, hip hop, and writing, and let them make music.
THE PLAN IN ACTION Sonya put out the word to those in the hip hop community that we were looking for beats for the program. She got a number of beats back from some great producers. Our teens then listened to those beats and selected the two which they wanted to work on over the next few weeks.
THE NEXT THREE WEEKS Over the next 3 weeks, the teens hunkered down with Sontiago in the library and worked on adding to the music. The teens (with Sontiago’s guidance) mapped out where the verse, chorus, and bridges would be in the song. They took the instrumental tracks and transformed them into their own pieces of art. By the end of the third week, all of the teens parts had been written and recorded. The final step was mixing the tracks and blending the teens vocals together to create something truly moving. Between the work done by the producers, the teens, and Sontiago, this was a true collaborative project that took place in the public library.
FOR MORE INFORMATION I wrote about the Make Music at the Library over at my personal blog while the program was going on. You can read those posts here.
Here’s a video playlist taken from the four weeks the teens spent working on the tracks:
On Tuesday May 17, 2011, my library had the pleasure of hosting a show featuring the wizard rock band Harry and the Potters. The show itself was awesome: the music was great, the band was super nice, and everyone had a good time.
The highlight for me had nothing to do with the actual show. Instead, it came from the patrons. The first moment where I noticed that this wasn’t going to be just any old program was when I stepped out to announce to the fans that were waiting for the show to start that the band was just sound checking and would be ready shortly. I expected maybe 20 people tops, but the line stretched all the way from our auditorium up into the library proper. We’re talking at least 100 people here, all with smiles on their faces.
Once the show got underway, I stepped up to the mic to introduce the band to the 203 people that came to the library on a rainy, Tuesday night to see this free show. I was greeted with shouts of “I LOVE LIBRARIES” and “WE LOVE LIBRARIANS”. I felt like a Beatle.
But that’s not what I’m trying to get at. What I’m really trying to say is this: the death of the library has been greatly exaggerated. This event showed me that there are people out there that love their libraries. They know who we are and what we do…and they love us for it. Will 26 ebook circulations be the thing that takes away that love? What about when Seth Godin says that libraries are out of date? Are they gonna listen to him? I don’t think so. People will remember you when you give them positive experiences.
I have a feeling we’re gonna be ok.
Here’s some video I took at the event with my phone. Sure, the quality isn’t the best, but I think it captures the excitement of the evening.