Sara Hagenbuch, Darwin Scott, and Brittany Jones, Outreach Revisited: Successful Patron Engagement Initiatives at Princeton University’s Arthur Mendel Music Library

Sara Hagenbuch is the Coordinator of Public Services and Outreach at the Mendel Music Library. Sara came to Princeton University Library from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was the circulation and reserves supervisor at the Earth Sciences and Map Library. Sara also served for four years as the library circulation supervisor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Sara maintains an active career as a professional chorister and solo singer, with particular interest in the works of G.F. Handel. Sara earned a bachelor of music degree from Ithaca College and holds a master’s degree in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Darwin Scott became Princeton University Library’s Music Librarian in 2009 and attained the rank of senior librarian in 2016. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology and a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and is an active member of the Music Library Association, the International Association of Music Libraries, and the American Musicological Society. His scholarly interests include medieval and Renaissance music, music publishing from 1500 to 1800, music bibliography, digital humanities in the performing arts, and interdisciplinary studies. Before coming to Princeton, Darwin held positions at Brandeis University as Creative Arts Librarian and at UCLA’s music library. He plays the oboe, recorder, crumhorn, and piano. 

Brittany Nielson Jones is the Collection and Web Services Manager at the Arthur Mendel Music Library at Princeton University. Brittany has Master’s degrees in Library and Information Science and Music History and Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her main instrument is voice, but she also has an extensive background in piano and trumpet. Before deciding to go into Music Librarianship, Brittany worked for many years in the private sector as an IT specialist where she worked extensively with digital technology, including website design, server administration, customer support and software testing. Her background in music and technology has served her well at Mendel Music Library and she has spent much of her time at Mendel organizing and creating metadata for digital projects such as the 19th Century Sheet Music Collection, the Valva Silent Film Music Collection, and the Music Treasures at Princeton Collection.

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Friday Program
Impactful outreach to students, faculty, and patrons fills every library’s mind these days, trending in music librarianship with the 2019 release of MLA’s Outreach for Music Librarians. In this presentation, Mendel Music Library’s Coordinator for Public Services and Outreach, Web Services Manager, and Music Librarian augment this manual by recounting their successes. Evolving outreach and marketing public-service goals mix programming, publicity, and training beyond standard social media, websites, LibGuides, faculty liaisoning, and orientations. Outreach is core for libraries and an oft-prescribed job requirement. Challenges include measuring success; engaging patrons beyond the usual realms of outreach; assessing a library’s unique environment, clientele, and community rather than blanket adoption of what works elsewhere; risking bold new ideas; instructive social media posts; zingy publicity; and training to advance employee skills. We will address specific examples from Mendel’s outreach and programming agenda and conclude with responses from the audience. Initiated spring 2019 with a successful first concert in Princeton’s new Lewis Arts Center Complex, the Library Music Live concert series revivifies in polished performances by staff, undergraduates, and graduate students rarely heard 16th-mid 20th-century music from early editions and manuscripts housed in Mendel’s locked stacks and the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Launched late spring 2017, Mendel Night at the Opera features a full opera streamed from a subscription-based resource. Despite a slow start, readjusted advertising, outreach, and scheduling drew a respectable audience to two such events in 2018-19. Without enthusiastic partnering with the university library’s communications director guiding poster design and publicity into Princeton and community channels, such public outreach faced failure. Mendel maintains active Facebook and Twitter feeds promoting campus music events, speakers, and content from online resources, with persistent links targeting searches in the catalog, RILM, and other e-resources to inspire exploration of related repertoire and bibliographies as a hook to draw followers deeper into our resources. Mendel trains specific students to post on musical anniversaries, new resource content, and other relevant topics replete with such deep-linking. Libraries employ students at circulation desks, but music demands rigorous training for guiding patrons to sought-after materials, particularly during night and weekend shifts. Mendel views this service point as a vital outreach connection, aspiring for our students to accurately fulfill, within reason, patron needs. We require a music background for all students, and to grow their skills, we have rigorous training with reference quizzes and detailed learning outcomes. We will review what worked or not with this training, tweaks, and challenges faced by students answering music queries.

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