After a tireless campaign by musicians, music groups and local people, the archives of the Yorkshire Libraries & Information (YLI) Music and Drama Service has been saved from disbandment.
The biggest music and drama lending library in the UK was facing closure by April because of government cuts. Loans for scores have fallen markedly and the YLI had plans to move sections of the library to new premises, but there was no space for the Music and Drama Service.
This meant that the library’s 500,000 items of music and 90,000 plays would have been divided up between libraries or gifted to other councils.
But it has now found two new homes. The music scores will be stored in Kirklees in Huddersfield, where not-for-profit social enterprise Fresh Horizons will manage the service and the drama scripts will go to Leeds library.
Much of this is down to the work of 2,000 groups and individuals who joined the national federation of music societies, Making Music, in their fight against the library’s closure, when the campaign began last November.
The library has a reputation for sourcing rare music. Last year, Making Music claimed: “The rule among choirs all over the country is try your local library first, then Wakefield.”
YLI took on board their plight and worked with the International Association of Music Libraries to find suitable premises.
Mike McCusker, managing director of Fresh Horizons, said he is “delighted” to support the running of the service, “ensuring this important cultural resource continues to serve community groups who play such a crucial role in enriching the lives of their members and audiences across the area and beyond”.
The service will close at its current site in Wakefield on March 31st.
Have you ever made use of the YLI’s Music and Drama Service? How important are music libraries for players and groups?