Innovative music instrument program expands Lafayette Public Library


LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Public library systems are beginning to lend musical instruments. It’s an innovative program that’s taking off across the country, including right here in Acadiana.

The Hub City is a melting pot of so many talented people. The Lafayette Public Library wanted to make sure there are resources out there for people to perfect their crafts.

If you ever wanted to take a musical instrument for a test drive or re-kindle an old passion.

“From a violin to an accordion, all the way to a guitar with an amp,” said Keith Guidry, communication relations coordinator for the Lafayette Public Library.

The Clifton Chenier Branch of the library system is making that possible with an initiative that began three years ago by local musicians.

“They pitched this idea. They said what if we have a Grammy award-winning musician in our midst just sitting with us and they don’t even know they have the talent because they don’t have access to this music,” Guidry added.

The “M.I.brary” has been open for about a year now, picking up steam, with over 250 check-outs so far.

“One gentleman, he checked out an accordion. He said he’s been playing for 25 years, but he doesn’t have one at the house. So, he checks it out to play. One lady, she’s slowly learning how to play an electric guitar,” said Amy Wander, the Outreach Services Librarian.

Here’s how it works: you fill out a form, pick your instrument, and then it’s yours for up to four weeks with it, free of charge.

“So that a parent doesn’t get nervous about, well I’m going to invest in all of this and the child is not going to like it,” said Esther Tyree, the Instrument Caregiver.

The instruments are tuned-up once a week in good condition. There are over 30 musical instruments available with more on the way.

“As a music teacher for many many years, you have parents and students that come along that say well I’m curious, but I just don’t know. So having an opportunity to check out an instrument and explore is very helpful,” Tyree added.

The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has also teamed up with the library to offer classes for certain instruments. The next class is Tuesday, April 14.

A team of people invested in the program has secured a grant to supply the library with more instruments because of the high demand.

To get a full look at what’s available for check-out, click here.

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