Paddock sees growth, sustained popularity

by Margot Bryne | 10/28/13 7:00am

One of Dartmouth’s least known libraries, the Paddock Music Library, houses more than 100,000 items in its collection. At its heart is a talented staff that is deeply involved in the arts and is gradually expanding its digital collections and campus presence.

As head of Paddock for 27 years, Patricia Fisken manages the budget and develops the collection along with library supervisor Joy Weale and library specialists David Bowden and Rachel McConnell ’12.

Fisken studied music history and theory in college, sang and played the piano and harpsichord.

“I realized, however, that performance was not in my path,” she said. “Understanding and loving music in its broadest sense and helping to provide music materials to other music lovers has become my passion.”

McConnell, who played in the Dartmouth Marching Band, manages the library’s serial holdings, which includes processing journal issues as well as CDs and DVDs. Bowden, who DJs and plays in a band in his free time, runs the computer and A/V tech support.

“Due to the small staff here at Paddock, we all wear different hats as needed during any given day,” Bowden said.

Weale, who previously worked as the Cook Mathematics Library supervisor and the Kresge Physical Sciences Library supervisor, helps patrons locate their desired sources and trains student assistants.

“I was fortunate to be able to revisit my music background by moving to Paddock,” Weale said. “It’s been a very nice transition and I would say that my passion is actually working well with college-aged students.”

When the Hopkins Center was founded in 1962, Lois Paddock Hicks and her husband, Orton Havergal Hicks ’21, endowed Paddock in honor of Nellie F. and Frank A. Paddock. By 1980, the library functioned as a small departmental facility in Baker Library.

In 1986, the music department combined its score and LP collection with the music research collection, and moved into a new facility located on the lower level of the Hop.

Today, Paddock holds books, journals, scores, sound and video recordings and online resources. The music spans from classical, electro-acoustic and popular to jazz and world music. The library also keeps in storage a collection of 15,000 LP sound recordings, which include compact discs of music and DVDs of operas and musical theater productions.

The more rare archival music sources are housed in the Rauner Special Collections Library. Among these are medieval music manuscripts, sound recordings of past performances at the Hop, compositions from the Bregman electronic music studio and world premiere recordings by visiting composers to the Congregation of the Arts at Dartmouth in the 1960s.

Fisken said that the music library is primarily used as an academic resource. The approximately three dozen music majors and minors and graduate students often frequent the library to do research, access class reserves or check out recordings. Additionally, students in theater and ensemble groups have begun to use the library for their own recreational enjoyment, listening to arrangements, browsing sheet music and watching discs of old performances.

The number of students using the Paddock Music Library has remained fairly steady in recent years, something Fisken attributes to the emergence and prevalence of online course reserves and resources, which include extensive streaming audio databases.

“Students continue to seek comfortable places to study near collections and technology,” she said. “I suspect if [Paddock] were able to increase its visibility, its study space capabilities and its hours of operation, we would see considerable increase in the use of the music library and its resources.”

Fisken hopes to see Paddock become a performing arts library, and include collections and space for the theater department as well. She believes that music and theater are interconnected, and hopes that this change might bring more activity to the library.

“Above all, I hope that students who use Paddock will find through inquiry and synchronicity resources that will inspire them to study, write about and share topics that pique their interest and creativity,” Fisken said.