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  • McCone County Library Community Conversation

    Earlier this year, McCone County Library was awarded a $3000 grant from Libraries Transforming Communities with the American Library Association in conjunction with the Association of Rural and Small Libraries. This grant funding allowed me to purchase a small collection of music resources that can be checked out and enjoyed by anyone with a McCone County Library card.

    On Thursday, May 19th, Sonja Meissner joined a group of ten patrons at McCone County Library to discuss ways to encourage music participation in our community. The discussion was wide ranging and covered a variety of topics. A simple survey was passed around that solicited feedback about musical knowledge and interests. Most people who attended played at least one instrument, sang, or had an appreciation for many diverse kinds of music.

    As the discussion progressed, some issues were raised about things that would increase general participation in music for the whole community and how the residents of Circle can help in this process.

    McCone County Library will be creating a collection of sheet music that can be made available for lending. McCone county residents who have collections of extra sheet music – in good repair – can drop off that music at the library. Mary will catalog the music and house it so that it can be made available for lending. That way we can share many resources throughout our community.

    I have had many parents inquire about music lessons for their children. I know that we have talented people in our community, but I also know that everyone is busy, and no one can manage enough students to consider it a full-time job. That is where Muhammad Yunus comes in. He is an economist who won the Nobel Prize for the concept of microlending. He found that in extremely poor countries, if you lent small amounts of money to women, they could start a business and their entire family was lifted out of poverty. Think of our solution as microlending, but with piano lessons. We have several talented pianists in town, people who play the guitar, people who play the fiddle or the violin. None of these people could spare the time to teach 10 or 15 students, but could they take one or two? Could we lift our community out of musical poverty one piano lesson at a time? I am available at the library to coordinate requests for lessons with people who are willing to teach with students who are wanting to learn. My goal is to create a network to encourage musical knowledge that will benefit the entire community.

    Several people expressed interest in resurrecting the community theater for a single musical per year to start. What a wonderful way to encourage everyone to explore theater and the arts and maybe raise some money to keep our movie theater a vibrant part of our community. Please message me at the library and I will coordinate with Mary Heide to see where the interest lies in creating this type of event.

    Another person mentioned creating a community choir at Christmas, something non-denominational that merely allowed people to come together and create something beautiful as a group. This was also an idea that seemed very popular.

    The last idea was a bit more of an ask. As we continue to have some struggles in attracting and retaining teachers, there are over fifty open music positions in our state alone, many schools have far more resources in their arsenal to attract and retain new teachers. It was suggested that the community provided housing that is either free or heavily subsidized, might be an attractive bonus that allows a potential candidate to accept a lesser salary due to the reduction in their cost of living. This would allow them enough time to settle in and get to know and like us before they consider making further plans like purchasing a home of their own. We do have several properties that could use some sprucing up and a project like this might be just the way to put many talents to work for a worthy cause.

    All told, this discussion was very productive and created a framework for more communication about the role that arts have in Circle.

    Please use the contact form below to message the library with offers of sheet music, an interest in offering private lessons, a need for private lessons, or any questions or concerns that you may have.

We'd love to hear from you!