Prospect Heights

Brooklyn’s new musical instrument lending library a smash hit

BPL: Almost all instruments checked out immediately

May 24, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Public Library patrons check out musical instruments, like the ukulele seen here, which are available for borrowing at the Central Library. The new lending program, which launched on Wednesday, is wildly popular.  Photo courtesy of Beverly Closs

A new program allowing patrons to borrow musical instruments at Brooklyn Public Library is an overnight sensation.

The library officially launched the Musical Instrument Lending Library at Grand Army Plaza on Wednesday, and all of the instruments — except for a few ukuleles — were checked out by Thursday.

Five guitars, four violins, five ukuleles, five drum pads (four individual and one set) and four electronic keyboards can be borrowed by adults for up to two months at a time.

“Many people, both amateur and advanced musicians, cannot always afford to purchase the musical instruments they need to begin or advance their musical education,” Jesse Montero, director of the Central Library, told the Brooklyn Eagle. He said that the library was “delighted to partner with the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music” to provide access to the instruments.

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Interest in the instrument lending program is high, Montero said.

“One patron knew how to play the piano but could not have one in his apartment. He wanted to try out the keyboard (before buying one) to see if he would enjoy playing it,” he said.

“Another patron was the daughter of two ukulele players — and she wanted to have one in her home when they came to visit,” Montero added.

On Wednesday the Central Library threw a party to celebrate the program’s launch, with entertainment courtesy of students from P.S. 321.


“I’m number six on the waiting list for a violin,” Brooklyn Heights resident Beverly Closs told the Eagle. “I’ll probably get it in August.”

Closs said library staff told her they want to try to get more instruments from the Guitar Center.

“The instruments were checked out almost as soon as we announced the program,” library spokesperson Fritzi Bodenheimer confirmed. “The program is brand new but given the popularity, I am sure we will discuss ways to expand.”

“We’re thrilled to support the Brooklyn Public Library’s instrument lending program,” Chad Cooper, executive director of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music told the Eagle.

“The idea that anyone with a library card can rent an instrument for eight weeks is terrific and will promote greater accessibility in the arts — which is at the very heart of our mission at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music,” he said. To help the program get off the ground, the Conservatory is offering discounted private lessons for instrument borrowers.

To get started, email [email protected] to ask whether an instrument is available to borrow or get on the waiting list. Instrument pickups and returns take place at the reference desk in the Art & Music Division on the third floor of Central Library at 10 Grand Army Plaza. In addition to one instrument, patrons may also check out one music stand.

The Musical Instrument Lending Library is a BKLYN Incubator project.

Violins like the one played by this Brooklyn Conservancy of Music student are now available for borrowing through BPL’s Musical Instrument Lending Library. The Conservancy partnered with the library in the program. Photo by Idris Solomon


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