The library’s vinyl collection has 153 albums, said Allison Thiessen, a film and sound librarian. (Photos by Shakeem Jones)
Groove to the classics or catch a vibe with today’s popular music with Richland Library’s new vinyl record collection.
Vinyls have risen in popularity — one out of every three albums sold in the United States in 2021 was on vinyl, according to Billboard. Now, with more than 150 vinyls available for check-out, the library is giving patrons the vinyl experience.
The collection is housed at the Richland Library Main, located at 1431 Assembly St., but can be returned to any location. Up to two vinyls can be checked out for a week and renewed up to five times, as long as there isn’t a hold or someone waiting for it.
Don’t have a record player? Turntables can also be checked out via the library’s service called Library of Things. All you need is a Richland Library card, which are available to any Richland County resident.
“We wanted something kind of fun and new, you know, to add to our collection, we’re always looking to do that kind of thing,” Allison Thiessen, Richland Library’s film and sound librarian said. “Vinyls have become kind of popular again. So, we just wanted to add it to our collection.”
The new collection is not the first time Richland Library had vinyls for check-out. Its original collection ended in 1993, Thiessan said.
“Part of the reason that we quit having vinyl is, frankly, the record labels just weren’t pressing vinyl anymore,” she said. “CDs came around, and they were a lot easier to produce — and cheaper.”
Thiessen said talks of bringing back vinyl to the library’s collection began when she had the idea in 2018. But the pandemic postponed plans.
The idea was picked up again earlier this year when Thiessen reached out to Papa Jazz Record Shoppe to source the collection, said Woody Jones, assistant manager at Papa Jazz. The store in Five Points, which celebrated 40 years in business in 2019, has been known for years for carrying vinyl, specializing for a long time in used records.
“(Thiessen) sent me a list of records that she thought would be interesting to have in the collection and also to contribute things that I thought would be interesting,” Jones said. “It was definitely a collaboration.”
The collection is made up of records that were already for sale at Papa Jazz or ordered from distributors, bought with funding from the library. There are a few used copies, but about 90% of the collection is brand new vinyl, Jones said.
Jones said he and one of his coworkers picked out records they liked and thought were culturally significant to certain genres.
“We thought it would be cool if they were in the library, and people had a chance to hear them,” Jones said. “We stuck in a few local records from different artists, because we thought that would be neat. And, you know, it was just sort of a mishmash of records.”
Thiessen said she wanted the library to offer a wide variety of genres.
“We have general popular music,” she said. “We have R&B, we have hip-hop and rap. We have country. We have jazz. We have some blues. We have a little bit here and there.”
Artists range from Billie Holiday, Fleetwood Mac, Tyler the Creator, Kacey Musgraves, Dr. Dre, Jimi Hendrix and Toro y Moi, who’s from Columbia.
Thiessen said the library is in the early days of vinyl check-out, and it’s a possibility the collection could expand depending on popularity.
“It’s been so far, so good,” Thiessen said. “I just hope the more people hear about it, the more they’ll check-out.”