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Singing in the Stacks

by on September 8, 2016

You may have noticed one of the new services being offered in Tikkurila Library in Finland: karaoke! I first saw the news in an article from the Smithsonian, but several other news outlets have covered it as well. While public singing isn’t something I rush to do, I’ll admit to enjoying myself when I’ve participated and let go.

Karaoke in the library can be for anyone of any age. It can be particularly enticing for those who would like to participate but may not be interested in going to a bar, where most karaoke opportunities exist. This special room in the Tikkurila Library is available to reserve for up to two hours. They offered a class to garner people’s interest called “Be Brave—Sing Karaoke.” Not only did this course offer people the chance to be introduced to the machinery available to them, but it also provided a chance to overcome the fear of public performance.[1]

While this was the first time I heard of a library offering a karaoke room, we’re no strangers to offering programs inviting the public to come in and sing. Doing a little research brought up a multitude of libraries hosting karaoke events for tweens, teens, and adults. The Brooklyn Public Library has karaoke all over their events calendar. In 2015, Altadena Library, Calif., combined the singing with contests and a showing of Pitch Perfect.[2] The Vestavia Hills’ Library in the Forest, Ala., added the draw of karaoke with Disney princesses.[3] The possibilities are endless for the themes you can put together and the groups you can attract.

You can also spread the karaoke joy outside the library walls and apply the idea of circulating less traditional devices to this pastime. Wilkinson Public Library in Telluride, Colo., circulates a karaoke machine. Originally purchased for a teen program, this machine was put into circulation after library staff saw how much fun it could be and wanted to share it with everyone. They’ve had good success with the machine, which checks out for four days at a time and comes with a variety of karaoke CDs indexed to make it easy to find your jam. It’s proven to be a hit at birthday parties and similar events.[4]

Music moves us. Just look around—patrons are browsing the music section, watching music videos on the computer, humming as they walk by, singing in their car on the drive home. Why not bring in a little extra flair and add some karaoke to your collection?

[1]Fancy a Karaoke Day at the Library?Yle (Helsinki, Finland), August 10, 2016.
[2]Karaoke @ Altadena Library,” Altadena Library, 2015.
[3]Family Night: Disney Karaoke with a Princess!” Vestavia Library, 2016.
[4] Sarah Landeryou, Wilkinson Public Library director, in an e-mail message to the author, August 29, 2016.

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