January 24, 2022

Iowa Public Radio Profiles Iowa City Library’s Local Music Project

From Iowa Public Radio:

But just as libraries are introducing eBooks to readers – librarians are also trying to figure out how to get digital music to library goers. Iowa City has launched a digital music library that focuses on its local music scene.


The idea for it came to retired librarian John Hiett while he was sitting in a bar. He realized he was spending the library’s budget on a bunch of musicians who weren’t from Iowa.

“Late one night, late for me anyway, I was watching Dave Zollo play and I thought, he’s so good, how come we ship our entire music budget out of town?” said Hiett. “I may have had a few at that point, but I had the sense to email myself with the idea.”

Here’s what Hiett came up with: If you have an Iowa City library card and a computer, you can download more than 100 albums by local musicians for free and the user owns it forever. Hiett said  a lot of the music is older and out of print, but some bands don’t have a problem just giving the library a new recording.


Librarians across the country have caught wind of Iowa City’s Project. Nashville Public Libraries are planning to use it as a foundation for something that goes a bit further. Librarian Jared Brennan says the Nashville system plans to curate a history of the city’s music that goes beyond country to include hip-hop, alt-rock and other genres …  and make it available beyond city limits.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Downloadable Collections of Music from New Zealand Made Available by National Library of New Zealand
Learn More about the Project

Hat Tip: @mattRweaver

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.