Monday, March 22, 2010

A Living Library

From VPR Classical Host Joe Goetz:

One of the most common questions I receive when meeting listeners is "what do you do when you're not on the air?" It's a good question. I'm only on the air for four hours each afternoon, yet the job is full-time. So what do I do for the other part of the day? I like to tell people that I'm a librarian.

Most of the time, my desk is covered with sticky notes, purchase orders, and several large stacks of CDs. Classical music CDs that arrive at VPR come to my desk, where I sort through them, log them, stick a label on them, and enter their track information into our massive music scheduling database. It's an exhaustive process, but it is also a very fulfilling one. After I have entered a CD into our database, I know that it will always be available to us for airplay, and that it can be enjoyed by our listeners for years to come.

(Volunteers Ann and Bruce, negotiating library space)--->

Recently it became clear that our library space was becoming more and more constrained. About a month ago, our trusty music volunteer, Ann Larson, mentioned to me that she just did not have room to shelve some of our new CDs. Luckily (thanks to a previous volunteer library project!), there are are now several rows of empty shelves that can accommodate the surplus. So I looked over the situation, came up with an (admittedly flawed) action plan, and enlisted another VPR volunteer, Bruce Simmons, to help Ann in making a mass move of CDs to the empty shelves.

As it happens I had already planned for a personal day off on March 5th, the day that all this was scheduled to happen. I left Ann and Bruce detailed notes about my -- "incredible" -- vision for the process, and left them to it.

Most of us have found out at some point in life, just because one has a plan doesn't mean it will work exactly as one had envisioned it. Ann and Bruce, early on in the process, ran into the shortcomings of my plan and decided to do it their way. And it turned out great! Our library now has the breathing room to continue expanding at its current rate, by my estimation, for at least another three years.

Thanks so much to Ann and Bruce for their help, and to our contributing listeners whose support enables us to keep adding essential material to our living, breathing, and always evolving music library.

1 comment:

  1. Having worked for over twenty-five years in the not-for-profit sector, I can say with absolute certainty that I could never have accomplished anything, anywhere I worked, without the Anns and Bruces of the world. Volunteers are essential to the success of any non-profit and all our lives and "good causes" are enriched by their contributions. It's wonderful you have recognized Ann and Bruce and here's my personal "Yahoo for volunteers everywhere!"

    Downingtown, PA
    (I listen to VPR via the net)


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