Inside The Library: Library’s MILL celebrates its third birthday

This month, Prince Edward County’s Musical Instrument Lending Library (MILL) celebrates its third birthday. Started with a generous gift of instruments from Joe’s MILL in Kingston, it has grown considerably over those two years. The collection now includes an interesting variety of instruments — from those you might expect, like guitars and keyboards to some that may surprise you including an English Concertina, a couple of accordions, an upright bass, a piccolo and more.

Left handed? Not to worry, the MILL collection includes left handed guitars. There are also a variety of different percussion instruments including a complete drum set, a djembe, bongos, and even a set of hand spoons. Julie Lane-Ynetma is the Library’s IT co-ordinator who has experience playing a variety of different musical instruments. Attesting to the variety of instruments available, Lane-Ynetma remarks, “Basically if you wanted to start a Prince Edward County Orchestra, the MILL could supply it.”

Where did these instruments come from? We owe a big thanks to the many Prince Edward County musicians who have donated instruments from their personal collections. Thanks as well to the Friends of the Picton and Wellington branches of the Library and the Prince Edward County musicians who organized a fundraising cabaret event. That event raised money to purchase specific instruments to fill in gaps in the collection.

From the very first day Library staff visited Joe’s MILL in Kingston to collect the donated instruments, Don Hinde has shepherded the program and helped to guide and advise us. Mario Panacci is also a stalwart volunteer who leads the successful Friday afternoon jam at the Picton library branch. That program is on holiday hiatus now until Jan. 18. When it begins again, all are welcome regardless of skill level. Try out a new instrument and learn something new!

The MILL has allowed the library to experiment with a whole collection of new musical programs. This includes not only the Friday afternoon jam, but a “School of Rock Jam” that brings young musicians in to learn theory and the basics. The participants visited some local nursing and retirement homes to share music with the residents there. We are also thrilled to host the rehearsals for the County Ukulele Band – a cheerful group who travel around the County sharing music. If you are interested in trying a ukulele, you can borrow one from the MILL. The collection includes ukuleles made from synthetic materials and some from solid wood.

If you are inspired to try an instrument, memberships are open to anyone who lives in the County. There is a $10 membership fee for a two-year membership. Once you have a membership, you can borrow for free. Is there someone on your holiday shopping list who is interested in music? Membership gift certificates are available! What else can you purchase for only $10 that will lead to two years of musical enjoyment? Drop into any branch of the library to purchase them. Membership fees support the MILL and help us keep stocked in strings, reeds and other must-haves.

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered, participated, joined the MILL, and borrowed an instrument!

-Liz Zylstra