Message from the Chair
Spring 2019 Meeting Summary
Secretary/Treasurer’s Report
Fall 2019 Meeting Preview
Fall Meeting Call for Proposals
NEMLA Officers
Publication Information

Message from the Chair

Summer 2019

Greetings! I hope the summer months have been relaxing and restorative, even as Fall lurks just around the corner. But along with colorful leaves and cooler temps comes another opportunity to attend a NEMLA meeting. I am excited to announce that our Fall 2019 meeting will be at Manchester City Library in Manchester, NH on Friday, October 18, 2019. Our Program Chair, Lisa Wollenberg, has already issued a call for proposals, with a particular interest in lightning talks. If you have just completed an interesting project or research, but want a more concise format in which to share with your colleagues, I highly encourage you to submit a lightning talk proposal!

In case you missed the Spring 2019 meeting, please join me in congratulating the winners of the 2019 Election: Brendan Higgins, our new Secretary-Treasurer, and Lisa Wollenberg, our new Vice Chair/Chair Elect. Many thanks to Jared Rex for assembling a fantastic slate of candidates! Our new officers have already dived into their roles with gusto, and I am especially grateful to outgoing Secretary-Treasurer Alan Karass, both for his past two years of service, and for his efforts in smoothing the hand-off process. Thanks are also due to my predecessor Marci Cohen who, along with Holly Mockovak, served as our site host at the 2019 Spring Meeting at Boston University while juggling her final duties as NEMLA Chair. I am grateful we will still benefit from Marci’s expertise for one more year as she transitions to Past Chair.

As a result of a bylaws change at the Spring 2019 meeting, NEMLA’s new fiscal year is July 1st-June 30th, in order to align with the fiscal year of MLA. We can now bundle our membership renewal into their system. Please bear with us as we transition to MLA’s system. For those of you who have opted for the three-year membership package in the past, you should receive a discount code that will allow you to register in MLA’s system and receive credit for any remaining years of membership. If you have any trouble renewing your membership or applying the discount code, please email our Secretary-Treasurer, Brendan Higgins ( bhiggins AT berklee DOT edu ).

Finally, I would like to provide an update on the NEMLA Donation Match Challenge. In April, Marci issued a call for donations to MLA’s Paraprofessional/Public Librarian Travel Fund Endowment Campaign, promising a match from NEMLA of up to $500. I am pleased to report that we have already received $250, and hope to fully make our match goal by September 15, 2019.

To participate in the chapter challenge, you can either donate online on the MLA website or send a check payable to the Music Library Association to NEMLA secretary/treasurer Brendan Higgins, Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music, 8 Fenway, Boston, MA 02115. Include a note that it is for the Paraprofessional/Public Librarian Fundraising Challenge. If you donate on the MLA website, please include a note that it is for the NEMLA Chapter Challenge AND forward a copy of your receipt (the one from MLA showing the fund, not the one from BluePay that just shows a payment) to Brendan (bhiggins AT berklee DOT edu).

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Funke Donovan, Chair, New England Music Library Association Associate Archivist for Digital Assets, Boston Symphony Orchestra

Spring 2019 Meeting Summary

31 May, 2019

Mugar Library, Boston University

Submitted jointly by Tish Brennan, Member-at-Large and Memory Apata, Newsletter Editor

Opening remarks were offered by Boston University’s (BU) Associate University Librarian for Undergraduate & Distance Learning, Tom Casserly. Casserly noted the integral role of the College of Fine Arts and the Conservatory, as they are key to and a fundamental part of the student experience at BU. He remarked on the Music Library’s strong and distinctive program and key support function in relation to the School of Music, particularly noting the rebalancing of the music canon through data-driven analysis. 

Following these remarks, Sarah Funke Donovan introduced Jody Cormack and Alec McLane of Wesleyan University, who presented “Folk music and the environment: Preservation of the Hudson River Folk Festival Recordings.” Jody and Alec recounted the history of the Great Hudson River Revival Festival and the Bear Mountain Festival of World Music and Dance, the former of which was organized by Pete Seeger. Both festivals produced recordings of folk music and singer-songwriters of the era. Phil Ciganer, founder to the Towne Crier Café, donated these recordings (previously held at Vassar) to Wesleyan. Wesleyan offered a climate controlled space at the Music Library along with occasional graduate student help to preserve the collection. A Recordings at Risk grant was obtained in 2017 to ensure preservation. Despite the work being done, there are still barriers to public access because Ciganer only obtained verbal agreements before recording artists. The arbiters of the preservation project are trying to contact artists for permission. It is Ciganer’s hope that the content can be used to create a product which could be monetized, such as an anthology.

Next on the morning’s program was “Brave, Noisy World: Community Conversation in the Music Library,” by Memory Apata of Dartmouth College. Apata used Christopher Small’s concept of musicking and William Cheng’s concept of reparative musicology to design an outreach event on the topic of civil rights music. The events have been held on Fridays in January in the Paddock Music Library as part of the month-long celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. at Dartmouth. To guide group conversation at the Sing-Ins, the brave space model of Kristi Clemens and Brian Arao was adopted. The rules of brave spaces include discussing controversy with civility, owning intentions and impact, and accepting challenges by choice. Apata discussed the challenges of teaching music of the civil rights movement as a white person and recommended reading for librarians intending to host discussions on the topic of race, including White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, Mindful of Race by Ruth King, and Well That Escalated Quickly by Franchesca Ramsey. To conclude the presentation, attendees participated in the singing of “This Little Light of Mine” adapted with lyrics pertaining to libraries. This presentation will be given at MLA 2019 in Norfolk, VA as a recipient of the MLA Best of Chapters award.

After Memory Apata’s presentation, we learned about a new music data repository and music encoding initiative (MEI) out of Boston College in a presentation titled “Rebalancing the Music Canon & MEI Workflow.” There, Anna Kijas and Sarah Melton are making musical examples from the works of underrepresented composers machine-readable. While the work of scholars is unearthing more of these musical excerpts for viewing and listening, such examples are not in a format which can be manipulated or used as a part of a larger comparative data set. Kijas emphasized that training students to complete this work is vital for computational musicology in the future and it is students who are carrying out much of the work of this project. The workflow involves extracting and correcting notation using SMARTScore. After presenting, Kijas and Melton led an activity to demonstrate some of the skills needed to perform the work of a project like this. 

The NEMLA business meeting was held following the lunch break. Committee openings were announced, including positions on the Oral History, Outreach, Program, and Technical Services committees. Members wishing to join any of the above may find contact information for committee chairs on the NEMLA website. Alan Karass gave the Secretary/Treasurer’s report, an updated version of which appears later in this newsletter.

Marci Cohen gave the Chair’s report, including a call to members to get involved with the organization through committee work and collaboration with colleagues. She emphasized that NEMLA offers low membership fees but high engagement and encouraged attendees to make the most of their membership. Cohen praised the NEMLA board, stating that the group was effective and respectful, and encouraging those interested in running for office in the coming year to do so. 

When these remarks were finished, the assembly voted on a proposed bylaws change which would allow for the NEMLA membership renewal process to align with the MLA process. The resolution passed without objection.

At this point Marci announced election results, welcoming Brendan Higgins as Secretary/Treasurer and Lisa Wollenberg as Vice Chair/Chair Elect. The gavel was then handed over to incoming Chair, Sarah Funke Donovan, who called for new and old business. Upon hearing that there was none, she thanked the Past Chair for two years of excellent work and adjourned the meeting. 

The final presentation on the program was given by Lisa Wollenberg of the University of Hartford. The presentation was titled “Too Many Students and Not Enough Time: Solving Practical Challenges with Augmented Reality Library Tours.” Wollenberg explained that the University of Hartford is home to seven thousand graduate and undergraduate students, all of whom must take an information literacy course in their first semester, including a library tour. To accommodate the large number of students, an online module for information literacy has been in place for the past ten years while in-person tours continued. The tours created a lot of work for library staff, who had to organize, lead, and schedule them. Wollenberg solved this problem by designing a self-led library tour using ARIS, an open-source program for creating augmented reality experiences using mobile GPS and QR codes. Students may access the tour via their own mobile devices or by borrowing the library’s iPad. The self-led tours take 15-20 minutes to complete and have lessened the workload on staff.

To conclude the program, attendees took a tour of the Mugar Library and enjoyed a concert by vocal group, Sourcework. A reception was held at Sunset Cantina. 

Recordings of the proceedings for this meeting may be found on NEMLA’s YouTube channel.

Secretary/Treasurer’s Report

Balances (7/30/19)

Checking: $4,580.12

Savings: $4,006.20

Total: $8,586.32

Oral History Grant

Beginning amount $1,000

Expenses since 2015: $549.49

Current remaining: $450.51

MLA Paraprofessional/Public Librarian Travel Fund

Current donations: $250 to MLA

Checking Account

Restricted funds (grant): $450.51

Unrestricted/NEMLA (non-grant): $4,129.61

November 2018 Meeting

Expenses: net loss $352.03

Registrations: 29

June 2019 Meeting

Expenses: $302.40

First-time attendees: 8

Registrations: 65

Current Membership

  •  Previous count of active members was 93
  • 37 have officially renewed with MLA (4 new members)
  • 15 have paid in advance, but have not renewed in the MLA site
  • 30 have not renewed but were active last year

Fall 2019 Meeting Preview

The fall 2019 NEMLA meeting will take place at the Manchester City Library in Manchester, NH on Friday, October 18, 2019. Manchester, NH is the largest city in northern New England and is home to a variety of local restaurants, concert venues, museums, and more. The Manchester City Library was founded in 1854 and currently houses over 350,000 volumes, making it one of New Hampshire’s largest collections. The Main Branch of the library has been located in the Carpenter Memorial Building (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) since 1914. The last time NEMLA met at a public library was for our fall 2014 meeting at Boston Public Library, and we are excited for this opportunity to reach out to public librarians in our region!

Registration is now open! Please fill out this form to register:

First-time registration: Free
Regular registration: $18 early bird / $20 after Oct. 11
Student registration: $9 early bird / $10 after Oct. 11
Early Bird Registration Deadline: October 11, 2019

Image preview
Manchester City Library

NEMLA is proud to offer free meeting registration to all who have not attended a NEMLA meeting in the past, regardless of NEMLA membership status. In addition, we welcome applications for our First-Time Attendees Travel Grant to assist with travel expenses. Follow this link to apply for the grant: The deadline for applications is October 11, 2019.

Stay tuned to the NEMLA listserv and/or the Upcoming Meetings webpage for forthcoming information on travel, hotels, pre-conference dinner, and more. If you have questions, contact Lisa Wollenberg (Lwollenbe at

Call for Proposals

The New England Chapter of the Music Library Association (NEMLA) is currently accepting proposals for our fall meeting at the Manchester City Library in Manchester, NH on Friday, October 18, 2019. We now invite lightning round proposals in addition to regular presentation and panel proposals.

We welcome submissions explaining and raising awareness of your recent projects, research, innovations, discoveries, etc., relating to music and to the profession of music librarianship—anything you think would benefit Chapter members and their constituencies.

Regular presentations should be 30–35 minutes in length. Lightning round presentations should be 8-12 minutes in length.

Proposals must include:

  • Name(s) and affiliation(s) of presenters/panelists
  • Contact information (e-mail and telephone number)
  • Title of presentation/panel
  • Type of presentation/panel (regular presentation, panel, or lightning round)
  • An abstract of 100-300 words
  • List of any equipment required beyond a computer, Internet access, projector, and speakers

Please send proposals via e-mail to the Program Committee Chair, Lisa Wollenberg (Lwollenbe at In your submission e-mail, please use the subject line: “NEMLA Fall 2019 Proposal.” The proposal deadline has been extended to Tuesday, September 3, 2019. Accepted presenters will be notified of their status by Friday, September 20, 2019.

NEMLA Program Committee: Lisa Wollenberg (Chair), Sara White, Zoë Rath, Rebecca McCallum

Special thanks to the program committee and to Manchester City Library staff for hosting us.

Lisa Wollenberg, Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, Public Services Librarian, Allen Library, University of Hartford, (860)-768-4840, Lwollenbe at

NEMLA Officers

Sarah Funke Donovan
Associate Archivist for Digital Assets
Boston Symphony Orchestra
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
sdonovan at
(617) 638-9452
Lisa Wollenberg
Public Services Librarian
Allen Library
University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Ave
West Hartford, CT 06117
lwollenbe at
Office: (860) 768-4840
Past Chair:
Marci Cohen
Assistant Head
Music Library
Boston University
771 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
mcohen2 at
(617) 353-3707
Brendan Higgins
Faculty Liaison and Outreach Librarian
Berklee College of Music
1140 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02215
bhiggins at
Higgins headshot
Patricia (Tish) Brennan
Associate Professor/Head of Reference
James P. Adams Library
Rhode Island College
600 Mt Pleasant Ave
Providence, RI 02908
pbrennan at 456-2810
Newsletter Editor:
Memory Apata
Music & Performing Arts Librarian
Paddock Music Library
Dartmouth College
Hopkins Center, HB 6245 Hanover, NH 03755
memory.r.apata at
(603) 646-3234
NEMLA Archivist:
Emily Levine
Reference Librarian
Public Library of Brookline
361 Washington St
Brookline, MA 02445
elevine at
(617) 730-2370
Website Editor:
Liz Berndt-Morris
Music Reference and Research
Services Librarian
Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library
Harvard University
3 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
eaberndtmorris at
(617) 998-5310

Publication Information:

New England Quarter Notes is published quarterly in September, December, March/April and June/July.
Back issues may be accessed from:

Address all correspondence concerning editorial matters to:
Memory Apata

Inquiries concerning subscription, membership and change of address should be directed to:
Brendan Higgins

Membership year runs July 1st to June 30th.
Regular Personal Membership:$12.00
Student and Retired Membership:$6.00
Institutional Membership$16.00

Return to the New England Music Library Association home page.