I think that I have established a strong relationship with my two supervisors, the three other Student Services employees, the band program director, and the front desk receptionists. These are the people who I work with on almost a daily basis. There are many more people who I have met but only see once in awhile, and I met them all at the same time so it is hard to remember names. There is also a difference between Merit staff and the private instructors. I do not really work with the instructors, and it is their supervisors who I get to interact with more.
Usually, the library is locked when it is not Open Hours, but an instructor will knock on the door and come in to take an instrument or a piece of music. I always have to introduce myself first because they sometimes won’t, and I have to make sure they sign out the instrument and music because some of them think they don’t need to follow the rules. But I try to be friendly and I am working on remembering names and faces.
So far my duties at Merit have been split between the music library and the student services department.
In the library, I have learned how to catalog music and instruments into the online library system, along with keeping track of the instrument fleet via two different spreadsheets. Keeping track of instruments is very important because we loan the instruments out to students to take home for the whole summer. We have to keep track of the conditions that the instruments are in before and after they are used by students. Certain damage to instruments will be covered by Merit, but in some situations, such as if the instrument has been damaged by the same student numerous times, the family will need to pay for repairs.
In the library, students can also purchase reeds, sponges, and other items that they may need for their instrument. They can also come and hang out in the library during open hours.
My main project in the library has been to catalog and box band music. We are working on reorganizing the entire library so that music is more accessible. This is extremely important because if a piece of music is not cataloged properly or cannot be found on the shelf, a teacher might order a new piece of the same music, which can be extremely expensive.
In the student services department, I have been working on enrolling students into their camps and classes. Merit is also trying to have clear records of past BRIDGES, now renamed as Merit Music in Communities, sites. These are offsite schools where Merit runs a music program. The goal is to have students in the program end up coming to Merit after they leave elementary school. Right now we are two years behind, so I have been entering students into the system from 2015.
The Merit School of Music is a nonprofit organization in Chicago that provides resources for students to reach their full musical potential by removing economic barriers and providing a high-quality music education.
As Music Librarian and Student Services intern, I am hoping to gain an understanding of what is required to run a nonprofit organization and to understand how to effectively manage a music library so that it is both available to students as a resource and also stays organized.