Local Labor has today unveiled plans to work with local community groups to expand the inner west library system to include musical instruments.

Local Labor will establish Australia’s first council-run Instrument Lending Library, where library members can borrow musical instruments.  

Under the plan, council would coordinate a donation drive to collect unused instruments from residents, schools and local community groups. Local residents could use their library card to borrow instruments as they currently do other materials, potentially paying a small fee to offset instrument maintenance and signing an agreement to pay for loss and damage.   

Instrument Lending Libraries have been successful overseas, with cities in the United States, England and Canada embracing a new “library of things” model. Library members in other jurisdictions can borrow items as diverse as cake pans, tools and even neck-ties.

Labor will also use libraries to expand services connecting community groups and residents, including creating spaces for mums looking to return to work and specific programs for grandparent carers.

Quotes attributable to Darcy Byrne, Labor Candidate for Mayor of the Inner West

“We know that the inner west is home to one of the highest concentrations of artists and musicians in the country.

“It makes sense to expand our library system to include materials that people want to use, but might not otherwise be able to get their hands on.”  

“This is about getting dusty old guitars out of people’s closets and out into the community.”

Quotes attributable to Sam Iskandar, Labor Candidate for Marrickville Ward

“As the program expands, we’ll work towards less common instruments, including those that are an essential part of cultural music practices.

“The policy opens the door to providing affordable lessons, concerts and events that celebrate music in all its forms.”  

Quotes attributable to Anna York, Labor Candidate for Stanmore Ward

“Kids often miss out learning music because it can be expensive to hire or buy musical instruments.

“This would give kids an opportunity to try out different instruments and settle on the one that inspires them the most.”

Quotes attributable to Mat Howard, Labor Candidate for Marrickville Ward

“Libraries are the heart of our communities, giving people spaces to meet up, learn and connect with others in the community.

“The idea behind the library of things model is that libraries can increase their patronage when they facilitate greater sharing beyond books.

“At a time when our community is hyper-focused on how to minimise waste, it makes sense that we push to provide greater opportunities for sharing, particularly of objects like instruments which can cost residents and parents a packet.”