Ask most students at IPR College of Creative Arts where they get their music and you’ll get mostly digital sources. Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and Soundcloud dominate and CDs have been relegated to the back shelf. But, everything old is new again, and there are a surprising number of IPR students who listen to records and even cassettes. With this in mind, Librarian Tina Halfman decided to form the IPR Vinyl Club, “I have always loved vinyl and was always an advocate. I also thought it was important for students in all of our programs to hear engineering feats of creativity on vinyl, and to be aware of the buying trends of consumers.”
As a long-time music lover, Halfman reminisces about the days before digital downloads, “when one bought music pre-2000, it wasn’t just a quick click. Sometimes waiting for, standing in line to buy, and actually holding the latest album by your most favorite band – with the added benefit of irritating your parents – was a raging full-on life event. Or, it could just be buying an album in the dollar bin because you liked the cover.”
Halfman consulted with IPR Lab Manager Matt Koehne, and lab crew experts Paul Z and Joe Sadowski and with their help purchased and installed the library’s first turntable, a Technics SL-QD33 Automatic Direct Drive. At that point it was just a matter of obtaining some records.
Halfman decided that she needed some student input at this point, “I thought I would start a club to help build the collection.”
Three students responded: Mary Chambers, Mikki Talbot and Gabe Vasquez, “and we had darn-tootin’ good time checking out local record shops on r Record Store Day and buying some waxers (I just came up with that. Any good?). We hit brick and mortar stores like The Electric Fetus (a Minneapolis institution and was Prince’s favorite store) and two in St. Paul, Barely Bros. Records and Agharta Records.”
“We started out with a list we compiled at a meeting,” Halfman explains,” but yours truly forgot it, so we had to freestyle. My peeps were very forgiving, though, and we forged ahead.”
Record Store Day
As Halfman explains, choosing Record store day turned the shopping trip into an event, and it was a great way to launch the club, “The Fetus was super crowded, but we were happy to experience it…
“If you are into special Record Store Day ONLY releases, get there early, get a number and get in line. The Fetus supplied food trucks for the hungry and thirsty (not free). Some other stores served up free snacks like, delicious cake at Agharta – I kinda felt bad for not buying anything – and some places like Barely Brothers, had live performances and a keg.”
All this buying and purchasing has resulted in a weekly IPR Library event: Turntable Tuesdays. Here’s how it works:
- Take a quick lesson in how to use the turntable and receiver – and receive a special adaptor pin certifying that you went through the 30-second course.
- Bring in an album or two from home or listen to one of the library’s.
- Play your album or select songs over the speakers.
And although Tuesdays are the official vinyl day in the library, Halfman points out that the turntable is for the students, and can be used any time the library is open, “Come in between 11:30-1:30 and 4:30-6:00 any day to listen to records over the speakers! Any other time, use the headphones,” she explains. But, she adds, “you still hafta go through my crash course.”
For more information on how to get involved with the IPR Vinyl Club or to attend the next record store field trip, stop by the library, spin a disc, and talk to Tina Halfman.