On and Ever Upward: A Year in Review

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The semester is almost at a wrap, and we here at RML have enjoyed every minute of it! We’ve had new faces, new events, and new experiences each step of the way and couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Let’s take a quick look back at some of the highlights from this past year and chat about more to come in the future.

Early in the year, you got two new Research Services Librarians here at RML. Denise Green, formerly the library’s Media Librarian, and Patrick Fulton (yours truly), a new librarian joining the team from Florida State University, took on the tasks of reference, media, and class instruction with aplomb. [Insert pat on the back here.] Denise and I both genuinely enjoy instruction and love working with the classes and students here at CIM. We hit the ground running this year and now we get a chance to reflect on reactions and feedback to tweak things for the next year. While the library might be quiet in the summer, we are furiously writing and creating to make the next year even better than this one was!

Likewise at the beginning of the year, we worked to realign our social media presence to better serve our current population. As one of the earliest adopters of social media in the conservatory, the library is dedicated to keeping our content engaging, relevant, and at times highly entertaining. In addition to our ongoing presence on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, we have joined the times with our brand new Instagram account: @CIMMusicLibrary. This one has been a ton of fun, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes views of the library, the adventures of your librarians, and introducing everyone to our staff. If you haven’t checked any of these out yet, we try to vary the content from platform to platform and give pertinent info you need to get the most out of the library.

This year brought big changes in our services too—have you tried OhioLINK yet? We posted a lot about this at the beginning of the year, but CIM is proud to join the OhioLINK network with over 120 other institutions sharing resources across the state. This statewide network works just like ILL does nationally, but with much quicker return times (4-5 business days in most cases). Not only do we gain access to the materials of all the other state colleges and universities, but we also now get access to major databases like RILM with the purchasing power of a consortium behind us (group discounts are a wonderful thing!). Many folks have given it a try so far, but if you aren’t one of them, drop in and we’ll show you how. In addition to new services for borrowing, the library has also started bringing you special events.

You may have seen your RML staff out in Pogue Lobby a few times this spring—we held two big events with drop-in tables for students, faculty, and staff to get help from trusty library staff. The first event we held this spring was our VPN setup event, where IT and library staff worked to set up everyone’s equipment with the CWRU VPN system. This way, everyone would be able to access library databases from home. Later in the semester, we hosted our first Resume Refresh event, where folks could drop in to have librarians look over their resumes, CVs, cover letters, etc. to give advice and help edit the documents. We had great turnout at both of these events and are looking forward to bringing them back next year. What other kinds of events would you like to see our library host? Sometimes events are about working for school or even getting that future job, but every now and again, it’s important to get together as musicians and just discuss music; that’s where our new Discovery Series comes in.

The RML Discovery Series, launched this fall, let us dig into our collections and highlight some new, unusual, or flat-out amazing performances just for you! We looked for works that most folks wouldn’t have encountered in their studies—sometimes you’ve got to vary your musical diet, you know? Not only did we want to push musical boundaries, we also wanted to create a space where musicians can talk about music that isn’t the classroom. Some of our favorites from this year included Willie Stark by Carlisle Floyd, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny by Kurt Weill, and Company by Stephen Sondheim. Next year, we hope to add some much-needed diversity into the mix with works by female composers and some music from around the world. Even we sometimes fall into the trap of western-centric, white guy-oriented classical music—so next time around, we’re excited to throw that out the window! Keep an eye out for the Discovery Series season next year. Have suggestions? Let us know!

That’s a lot to recap, but there’s so much more we could discuss. Your RML team loves improving services and providing you all the help you need. We can’t wait for next year already—we’ve got a ton of new projects and events in the works that we can’t wait to share.  Here’s looking at you academic year 2016-17! Don’t worry, however, we will keep you up to date throughout the summer with all our interesting developments as well!

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