Urbana Free Library Debuts New Vinyl Collection

The new vinyl record collection at the Urbana Free Library.

The new vinyl collection at the Urbana Free Library features 114 LP records.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Radio

Most public libraries discarded their vinyl record collections in favor of compact discs years ago. But now, one library is bringing vinyl back. Starting October 30th, the Urbana Free Library offers LP records for checkout, ranging from classical music to rock. 

Adult and Teen Services Librarian employee Joel Spencer, one of the curators, hopes the new collection will interest people who prefer the old format over CD’s and online music.

“We know a lot of people who are interested in vinyl,” said Spencer. “And then we just did research. And that got us to the point of thinking that it might be a viable format for the library to pick back up.”

Spencer says some people believe the sound quality of vinyl surpasses digital. And fellow curator Brian Roberts, a cataloging clerk in the Urbana Free Library’s Acquisitions Department, says playing records on a phonograph has a hands-on, interactive appeal that digital formats can’t provide.

“You're listening to music on your phone and doing like three other things at once, where if you have an album, you’re sitting down and listening to it,” said Roberts. “You have to turn it over to listen to the other side. ”

The Urbana Free Library’s vinyl collection is starting small with just 114 records, compared to its collection of nearly 20,000 CD’s. But Spencer and Roberts say the collection will grow, depending on public demand.

Spencer says the plan is to allow patrons to check out up to ten LP’s for a maximum of two weeks. The Urbana Free Library also has a portable phonograph for check-out as well.

Story source: WILL