One of the largest jazz collections in Canada housed at Carleton University

Colin Harkness, gifts co-ordinator (left) and David Sharp, head of collections, electronic resources and serials, are part of the team overseeing the cataloguing the 30,000 jazz CDs. (Susan Hickman Photo)

Thanks to a number of generous donations, Carleton now has one of the largest jazz music collections in the country.

“It’s good for Carleton because we have a pretty strong music department and program here,” says Wayne Jones, associate university librarian.

“It’s great to have. I know that in the past (faculty and students) really liked the fact that we have this gigantic collection of music scores, as well – all in one place, all in one building – that people can use. So, it’s great to have the CDs as well.”

The collection includes more than 30,000 CDs, including jazz from all eras and a wide range of styles and performance. The music came to the library from donors Jacques Emond (former CKCU host) and Canadian collector John Scholes, as well a large collection from the CBC – all this complements a collection which the library has had for a couple of years from music writer and broadcaster Jacob Siskind.

Due to limited resources, the collection of CDs won’t be fully catalogued for years to come since about 6,000 can be catalogued annually, says Jones, but some of it is already available through contacting the library’s Archives and Research Collections (ARC) or by searching the library’s catalogue online.

“What we’re trying to do is have collection of music scores, a lot of technical equipment, plus the music itself – the CDs – all in the Jacob Siskind Music Resource Centre,” says Jones.

The library’s music collection will be of great value to students.

“We know that in some of their course work these are the kinds of materials they use. I think one of the big values is the fact is that it is all in one place, but also the fact that … you’ve got scores, you’ve got the equipment and you’ve got the actual sound – the CDs.”

MacOrdum library received the Siskind collection, who was a renowned music critic and journalist, in 2011. Carleton was selected to receive the donation due to its enthusiastic commitment to use the collection for numerous educational purposes, including enhancing its music program and supporting study and research in the field of musical criticism.

That collection includes an amazing breadth of sound recordings compromising about 20,000 LPs, 8,000 CDs, 3,000 78 RPM records and numerous taped interviews, as well as archival notes, books, clippings and study scores. The extensive repertoire features interpretations by major artists at different points in their careers that showcase changes in their musical performance style over time. The LPs, 78s and CDs are neatly catalogued, making that part of the collection easily accessible.

Jones says that Carleton is often a go-to for libraries seeking new homes for collections or other donors.

“If you’re just a university that has a few CDs, it’s not likely you’re going to get contacted about some major collections that a Canadian corporation is willing to give up. But once you have that reputation of already having stuff, you’ll tend to get contacted more.”

The library also has other resources which complement the jazz, including some 9,000 CDs in other genres, and a collection of nearly 40,000 musical scores. The recent renovation to the library also includes the establishment of the Jacob Siskind Music Resource Centre, which will amalgamate the library’s music materials with the Siskind archives, and will also feature specialized audio production equipment, Finale score-writing stations, musical instruments, and a listening lounge.

“This is a valuable collection that will be enjoyed by listeners and used by researchers for years to come,” says Jones.

This entry was written by Maria McClintock and posted in the issue. Bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

Maria McClintock

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