Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY


December 29, 2011

Free music downloads available from public library

GLASGOW — Websites that allow patrons to download music, such as Rhapsody and Napster, now have a stiff competitor — the public library.

Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library began offering Freegal Music earlier this year.

The idea came about after library officials had a number of patrons asking if the library had CDs that could be checked out. Instead of lending CDs, library officials decided to offer Freegal Music.

“We thought this would be a better value, because they are songs they get to keep,” said Deloris Flowers, head of technical services at the library.

The library partners with the Friends of the Library in sharing the cost.

“The director, Lynn Andrew, she approached the Friends of the Library and told us about Freegal and asked us if we wanted to go halves and help support it, because it’s not cheap,” said Joy Stryzek, president of the Friends of the Library. “We were very excited. As Friends of the Library, we get to help the library and it’s great for people to see the Friends of the Library do more than just book sales.”

Not only is there a variety of musical genres available through Freegal Music, but there are also many selections from which to choose.

“When we first started they only offered the Sony music. At that time it was about 500,000 songs from 50 Sony music labels,” Flowers said. “But they have recently added the Ioda Alliance and they have 12,000 music labels. The music is from all over the world, some of it.”

A library card is needed in order to use the service.

“You go to our website and you’re going to click on Freegal Music and then you are going to log in with your library card number and your pin number. The pin number is the last four digits of your library card,” said Flowers.

Once a library patron is logged in, they can then search for the song they wish to download.

The music, which is in MP3 format, can be downloaded to a computer, flash drive, CD-Rom, MP3 player or a cell phone.

“It can go to any mobile device,” she said.

Even at the library, the music can be downloaded to any mobile device, except to an iPod because the library does not have iTunes software.

In addition, there is no additional software that needs to be downloaded in order to use the service, Flowers said.

“Once you download the song it is yours to keep to do whatever you want to with,” she said, which is unlike the e-books the library offers. E-books can be checked out for a period of time and when they are due, unless they are re-checked, they are returned automatically.

There is a limit to the number of songs library patrons can download.

“You can only download three songs per week, because of that restriction you get to keep it,” Flowers said.

The service has come to be quite popular among library patrons.

“We do have a lot of people to use it, because you don’t have to have your own personal computer to use it,” she said. “You can actually use it at our library.”

If patrons have an overdue account, they cannot download music.

“You can’t check out the music if you have anything overdue,” Flowers said. “It has to be an account that is in good standing. It won’t let you log into your account if you have something over due.”

Aileen Rose, chairperson of the library’s board of directors, said she and her daughters use the service, adding it is something they do together.

“We’re very excited to be offering the service,” Rose said. “I think it is a great resource for the patrons.”

Stryzek tested the service to see if it had one artist in particular — Paul Wilbur, who is a Jewish/Christian singer. She said she was blown away to learn that his music was available through the service.

 “That was my test for Freegal,” she said. “They had five of his albums.”

She also downloaded some Greek music just to see what it sounded like, she said.

Stryzek said she hopes the service will entice more people to use the library and dispel the notion that the library “is a place where there are all these dusty books.”

“I see Freegal Music as a launching pad to getting people to understand that the library offers more than books,” she said.

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