Music: Praises sung for Check Out the Music program |

Music: Praises sung for Check Out the Music program

by Joy McCoy
Special to the Sky-Hi Daily News

Members of the Grand County Blues Society (GCBS) Board won’t be singing the blues on Friday, Nov. 9. The local Blues Society, which was formed in 2002, will be accepting an award from the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) as the 2007 “Library Partner of the Year” for their unusual Check Out the Music Program, a collaborative effort to make guitars and other musical instruments available for loan through Grand County Libraries.

Specifically, the awards committee of CAL thought the partnership creating Check Out the Music between the GCBS and the Grand County Library District “showed ingenuity and the willingness to think outside of the box to offer a unique and well-used library service.” Only two other awards of its kind have been presented. Members of Grand County libraries and GCBS are ecstatic about the award and hope it opens musical possibilities for other communities. They will accept the award at the Colorado Association of Libraries Annual Conference in Denver.

The Check Out the Music Program was originally the brain-child of John Catt, founder of GCBS, who was searching for a way to get guitars into the hands of kids in Grand County. It took the acceptance of the Fraser Branch Librarian, Anna Winkel, to help the idea of having instruments in the library fly. Suzie Royce Cruse and Pam Cornett, also representatives of the Grand County Library District, have spent countless hours cataloging instruments into the system so they can be tracked.

Since its onset in the fall of 2006, the popularity, depth, scope, and recognition of the program have grown exponentially, and support from community sponsors, GCBS Board Members, and library staff has made Check Out the Music a working achievement. There are now over 25 instruments circulating within the county, including a left-handed acoustic guitar that was recently donated in August.

The Grand County Library District and GCBS hopes the community will take advantage of this program and check out an instrument for themselves and their children. Although the guitars, keyboards, basses and drum pads get plucked from library shelves as quickly as they are returned, an instrument can be reserved.

Monthly sessions are also held to introduce school-age children to the world of guitar picking. Call Youth Services Librarian Joy McCoy at The Fraser Valley Library (726-5689) with any questions or suggestions. May your Blues be found only in your music.

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