Managing a Music Lending Library

managing a lending libraryThere is a way to loan music to students without saying goodbye to it forever. I use a combination of a personalized stamp, personalized stickers, and a very handy app (Who Has What 2) to keep track of my stuff. I also have a built-in reimbursement program should my items never return. More about that below.

In the past, I had a strict “no lending” policy. My students purchased their own books; if one of them got lost, the student had to buy a new book. I never liked being that harsh, but I also didn’t like losing my stuff. I was finally able to relax my policy when I instituted an annual materials fee. Now If a student fails to return an item, I just deduct the current price of the book (plus shipping) from their materials fee.

I like my students to own their own copies of the serious repertoire they learn each year. Examples of when I use items from the lending library include times when the student’s accompanist already has the student’s piano part and they need another one for the judge. Or when their copy is only the bassoon part and I need to lend out the piano accompaniment. I lend out bassoon quartet and other ensemble music.

The best tool I use for tracking individual items is the iPad app Who Has What 2. (I’ll be writing a review post eventually.) It allows me to add items to my library by scanning the barcode. If the item’s picture doesn’t come up automatically, I can take a quick picture with my phone. I can set due dates, reminders, etc.

I also use some more archaic techniques to keep track of my inventory:Vandagriff Music stamp Vandagriff Music sticker

I like to think that my stamp and sticker serve as advertisements when judges use copies of my music during festivals. While that may be wishful thinking, I do know my stamp and sticker help students remember that the items are mine. The stamp is also intended to deter my students from illegal photocopying.

For now, my lending library consists of sheet music, CDs, and bassoon books (Sound in Motion, The Art of Wind Playing, issues of The Double Reed, etc.). If you have a lot of CDs, you may be interested in the follow post from Joy Morin about building a CD Lending Library.

2 thoughts on “Managing a Music Lending Library

    1. I ordered my stamp from rubberstampchamp.com. They were great to work with. I printed the stickers off on my home printer using labels I got from Amazon. I stamp the first page of each movement to deter copying, although I should probably stamp all of the pages.

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