Booking Bands: Newton Free Library is compiling a Boston music database for the general public

Boston music is going retro, and physical CDs are now stream-able free-of-cost the old fashioned way — by checking them out at the local library.

The Newton Free Library is currently building a database of Boston music, and has roughly 250 CDs already in its collection, available to its patrons and others within the 43 other libraries affiliated with the Minutemen Library Network. The facility started building the collection in March after the Iowa City Public Library sent out a similar call to musicians in the Hawkeye State.

“The Newton Free Library is always looking for new ways to connect our patrons with the arts and artists in the area,” says Sara Levine, a senior library assistant who is curating the collection with audio-visual librarian Royce McGrath. “[We] felt that having CDs from local musicians for patrons to borrow was beneficial for both the patrons and the artists who were graciously donating their CDs.”

One band who has responded to the call for music is rock sextet Petty Morals, who were contacted for the library’s Boston Music Awards display.

“We are always so stoked to participate in furthering local music promotion like what the Newton Free Library is doing,” says Petty Morals drummer Lauren Recchia via email. “More small town establishments should get involved like that; the local Boston rock scene is such a bad-ass community right now, you’d be stupid not to.”

Levine says that after putting out an initial call to local recording studios and music schools, the collection has been steadily growing throughout the year. The designated area also features a bulletin board to post flyers and other promotional material. While a local library isn’t the first place one would expect to cater to local musicians, it is providing another forum for exposure. And while maybe the stereotypical elderly guy won’t be attending a Petty Morals show anytime soon, the band’s CD could fall into the hands of a teenager or younger person who either can’t afford to buy music or perhaps isn’t connected to the Boston scene.

“Artists seem to really love what we were doing,” Levine adds.

Donations can be made in-person to McGrath or Levine at the library’s third floor AV department, or mailed to Newton Free Library, Attn: Royce McGrath, Audio Visual Librarian, 330 Homer St., Newton, MA 02459

Newton local music donations