I remember when I was a kid, my local library was filled with all kinds of records. They kept up with the times since the 50’s and the damn record room was packed with not just classical, but Jazz, Soul, and everything in between. I wonder what happened to those LPs? Here’s a duo who are bringing the idea into the present day. Two North London vinyl record collectors, Elly Rendall and Sophie Austin have turned a pub inspired idea into a reality with something they call The Vinyl Library. The concept is simple: create a space where vinyl lovers and DJs can essentially borrow up to five records at a time, while also providing a place for like minded individuals to share ideas, records, etc. The lending will be free to all who donate, and those who don’t will have to pay a small monthly fee to get the black crack. Borrowing the concept from libraries (who were doing it for decades alongside their books), the two aim to create a vinyl record community that would encourage interaction between record lovers, as well as helping people get exposed to more music they couldn’t afford to buy, in essence, an instant record collection that is shared. In a scene dominated by males, this also could offer a place where females were not discouraged to ask questions and learn more about the records and music, which the two have been exposed to in the past at record shops. There is also talk about DJ lessons (geared towards females), music documentary screenings, as well as a constant growth of The Vinyl Library’s in house collection.
“The great thing about the library is that people can house their records here. They don’t need to keep them at home, and they’ve got access to them all the time. So you don’t feel like you’re giving them up forever.”-Sophie Austin, The Vinyl Library
This is a great idea, but there are a lot of questions to ask. How can you assure that people aren’t just going to walk away with that copy of Fela Kuti’s Unknown Soldier that was donated by a good vinyl Samaritan who wanted to expose the world to new music? This might be tough to police. As far as the donations go, who’s to say that it won’t be boxes of Whipped Cream and Other Delights and The First Family LPs that show up on their door step? Mere details, but that stuff is being sorted as this story is written. I’m sure that the kinks will be worked out when the time comes. However, I know I wouldn’t want to house my records in any other space then my record room, but that’s just me. I don’t trust anyone with my vinyl. So far, there has been an overwhelming response to the idea, and vinyl donations are coming from all over the globe since the story broke. Their facebook page has gotten over 2000 likes all ready and is growing. This great story was also picked up by The Guardian, so it’s gaining momentum. The two have bigger aspirations, that the London Vinyl Library will be the first of many across the UK. Sounds promising. Big Ups to these two for not only preserving vinyl, but exposing a new generation to the format through this unique project. We are wishing them luck here at FMF, and hope that there are some honest people out there that want to use this library how it’s really meant to be used. Looking forward to hearing more about this as it grows and grows. Until they get a permanent space, you can check them out here:
The Vinyl Library
Unit 1 Foulden Road, Stoke Newington , N16 7UR
London, United Kingdom
To donate or for more information, email them: firstname.lastname@example.org
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