acoustic guitar Toronto public library sun life financial musical lending library

Starting today, you can borrow musical instruments from the Toronto Public Library

Anyone with a library card can now borrow from the library's growing collection of instruments.

- Apr 7, 2016

Beginning today, anyone with a Toronto Public Library card can go down to the Parkdale branch and borrow a guitar or a keyboard or a xylophone or any of the 100 other instruments belonging to its new Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library.

In partnership with Sun Life Financial and Long & McQuade, the library has initiated the city's first instrument lending program. Among its collection available to take home are left and right-handed acoustic guitars, ukuleles, acoustic bass guitars, a banjo, a mandolin, a xylophone, a cajón, doumbek drums, a djembe, bongos, a dholak, tabla, violins of various sizes, and keyboards.

Library members may borrow one instrument for three weeks at a time and may renew their loan twice. Like books, late and lost instruments will be subject to penalties and replacement fees.

For now, the program operates only from the Parkdale branch at 1303 Queen St. W, with hopes, says communications officer Michelle Leung, to expand to other locations in the future. In the meantime, the library is focused on growing its collection and welcomes donations of gently used instruments at the Parkdale branch as well as Long & McQuade locations on Bloor Street and Steeles Avenue.

Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace and Chantal Kreviazuk launched the donation drive Thursday morning, themselves gifting a guitar and a keyboard.

The new program underlines the multifaceted ways the library, not just a great repository of self-help books and Archie comics, serves its community and fulfills its stated vision: "informing and inspiring Toronto and its communities, making us all more resilient, more knowledgeable, more connected and more successful."

"Music is such an important part of life," says Toronto Public Library Manager of Stakeholder Relations Ana-Maria Critchley in an email to Chart Attak, "but not all Torontonians have ready access to instruments. Programs such as this one create an access point for opportunities to learn, create and grow."

"It’s the same principle we had in mind when we introduced the Tool Library at our Downsview branch last spring or when we recently started introducing Pop Up Learning Labs that travel to different branches across the city to bring new and emerging technology to communities through staff-led programs and classes. The Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass program is another example of creating access – in that case, through free passes to local museums, art galleries and attractions."

Though the Sun Life Financial Musical Lending Library will be the first such program in the city, it follows in the spirit of other successful and well-established lending libraries like the Joe Chithalen Memorial Musical Instrument Lending Library in Kingston, which conducts more than 5,000 loans from its 800-instrument collection, free of charge, every year.

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