Pop-ups: This concept is becoming more and more familiar in the forms of pop-up shops and pop-up restaurants, and these temporary installations offer a chance to try something new that’s only available for a limited time. But what about a pop-up library? This kind of outreach gives community members a chance to engage with libraries in a new way, and it provides exciting opportunities for librarians to connect with both the campus and wider communities and to prove that a music library is so much more than dusty old scores by Bach and Beethoven.
As the University of Minnesota’s Music Librarian, I’m based in the Music Library and on the West Bank of the Twin Cities campus. The Music Library isn’t just for music students; it’s open to everyone who has an interest in exploring the University Libraries’ rich collections of audio, video, books, periodicals, and scores, but the Library’s location can seem a little out of the way for visitors to Northrop. Because so many items in our collections relate to and support the fantastic performances presented on the Carlson Family Stage, I’ve made it my goal to bring library materials directly to Northrop’s community of concert-goers and to share a little bit of what libraries have to offer anyone who’d like to visit.
In collaboration with Northrop’s Campus & Community Engagement Coordinator, Kat Keljik, and with several Libraries special guests, I’ll be presenting a series of pop-up libraries throughout the coming months. These events will highlight the breadth of our music-related collections, featuring everything from a reproduction of Stravinsky’s handwritten manuscript for the Rite of Spring to recordings by the Doomtree Collective. Each pop-up will represent a carefully curated selection of materials that draw connections with the subject of that evening’s performance. Attendees of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Great Gatsby will get a taste of the roaring ’20s and swinging ’30s in the form of recordings by jazz-age greats like Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.
Visitors are encouraged to flip through and explore these items and although the library materials won’t be available for check-out during the event, everyone in the community is welcome to visit the Music Library at any time to watch, listen to, or explore them using any of our freely-available audio and video equipment. Pop-up events like this provide a fun and exciting opportunity for the Music Library to make new friends in the Twin Cities arts community and to show that we’re more than just a home for classical music.