Friday, May 9, 2008

To I-pods and Beyond.

This talk was presented by Joseph Wilk, who is a teen services librarian in the Carnegie library in Pittsburg.

To start he notes two important things for librarians to remember about teens. For teens music is social. To teens, music is loud.

He started with a video presentation interviews with teens.

Teens listen to music on electronic medium now. Mostly it’s on computers, I-Pods or MP3 players. The teens talked about when they listened to music. The answers were various, but they did say when they were traveling and when they were on the computer mostly.

Kids also seem to listen to a lot of different kinds of music everything from Cake to Wagner. A lot of the kids interviewed seem to have a variety of tastes. One girl even talked about getting music from her dad (who gets bootlegs). Music sources include friends, blogs, message boards, online stores, my space, social music, concerts, video games, and soundtracks to video games.

The teens described music as meaning everything from “A way to relax” to “A huge part of my life.”

Teens also take an active role in promoting or critiquing music by talking online and writing reviews on blogs and message boards.

Joseph gave a quick and easy overview of what an MP3 is. I’m not the most tech savvy person, but I did at least get the gist of what is involved.

The challenge for libraries is to build MP3 Collections. CD’s are on the way out, and libraries need to stay current to stay relevant.

Why have an MP3 collection? Teens are listening to MP3’s, they aren’t using CD’s. The format is on a steady down climb. Teens also own MP3 players, and no longer own CD players. They are also less expensive, averaging $10 for an album Vs $14 for a CD.
They don’t get damaged, and don’t need to be replaced. The music fits on the hard drive of a computer, instead of taking up shelf space. MP3’s don’t need to be processed, and don’t need to have things like stickers on them. You can get the newest music right away, not having to wait for shipping.

There are free creative commons licensed music from places like This is an online resource where you can download free music which is not copy written, to use in any way you like.

Libraries get nervous about MP3’s because of many reasons:

Compatibility is a huge issue, as embedded security issues with copy written downloadable music that can make it difficult to use, and sometimes causes problems on certain kinds of players and computers. Also, Mac to PC use is problematic.

Services change all the time. What is used now, subscription-based service may be obsolete very soon.

Libraries want to know how to pay for these services? How do we catalog this information? We almost have to invent a whole new way to catalog these files.

Will we have the ability to let patrons access MP3s? Can they get them in multiple points in a library? Can they get them in all branches?

Copyright law is tricky as well. Section 109 doesn’t apply. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act also prevents many libraries from using MP3’s.

I-Tunes are a great solution to many of these problems. It offers a flexible purchase options, flexible terms of sale, and a great selection of music.

When a library starts using I-Pods in your library, you want to have a waiver. This covers a lot of legal issues and protects the library.

He also took us through the visuals of the I-tunes webpage. Even for libraries that aren’t using I-Tunes, you can use it to preview music and get familiar with what the teens at your library are listening to.

This is the one section of the presentation that really peeked my interest. I joke that if you’re listening to patrons talk and you don’t know any of the bands, you’re old. If that’s true, I need a rocking chair and knitting needles. This seems like a great idea to hear what teens are listening too, and maybe get out of the habit of listening only to your own kind of music.

Social Digital Music

Teens want to find new music and share it. They bond over music. There is a copyright pitfall though, the digital performance rights in sound recording act of 1995. This is something a library has to be familiar with.

Some sources of online music include: (The social music revolution). It matches what you have in your I-Pod to other music that might appeal to you, and social networking functions based on your choices.
It provided the listener with information about what is actually being listened to by users. Joseph took us through a very detailed examination of the page, to show us how to use it, and what it can do.

MOG is another, which calls itself “My Space for Music Lovers” That is mostly a social networking and blogging about music. They have celebrity musicians that write blogs and recommend music. Mog-O-Matic will index music and keeps track of what you play.
They also allow you to use music on your blog as a sort of soundtrack.

There are others, doing some research around will lead you to some. Or you can e-mail Joseph and ask for recommendations or his great handouts on the subject at

(Thanks for the e-mail correction Joseph!)

-Sarah "The Dyslexic Libararian" Hodge-Wetherbe, Springfield Public Library


Joseph Wilk said...

Thanks for the really great wrap-up! I just wanted to say that my e-mail address is Best wishes to you and all the great people at MLA!

Beth Gallaway said...

Joseph, thanks for presenting!

I put links from the iPods & Beyond session at: