guitar lending program

After rolling out a guitar-lending program last May, Avon Lake Public Library added student and adult guitar lessons in June and September, respectively.

AVON LAKE —  Avon Lake Public Library’s guitar-lending program is striking a chord with patrons. The Guitar Lending Service has had 149 checkouts since its rollout in late May.

“The first 30 days we didn’t have an instrument left in the office to loan out and had multiple holds,” said Dan Cotton, the library’s page supervisor who initiated the lending program. “It was a continual checkout of the instruments.”

Those instruments include: four acoustic guitars, three electric guitars, two bass guitars and six ukuleles. Each instrument has its own case or bag, and electric ones come with a small amp to borrow.

The library spent just under $3,000 for the collection, which was funded by the library’s endowment, according to Shea Alltmont, communications manager, and is one of only three lending programs in the state.

Cotton, who learned how to play guitar at age 45, said the lending program saw a slight dip when school started (Cotton estimates 70 percent of the lending program clients are teens), but checkouts remain steady nine months into the unique service. Steady enough that Avon Lake Public Library has responded with a complementary guitar lesson program.

Teen guitar lessons started in June and adult lessons were added in September. The classes are limited to 10 people and guitars are provided, thanks to additional instruments purchased by the Friends of the Avon Lake Library. The library offers monthly introductory guitar lessons for those thinking about taking up the instrument.

“We’re taking away the financial constraints so now there’s no reason not to learn guitar,” Alltmont said.

Patrons aren’t the only ones taking notice of the musical programming. Avon Lake Public Library recently received a memorial donation of $250 earmarked for its musical programming and lending service. The library will add another bass — the most popular instrument in the program — to its collection, according to Cotton.

So any problems with instruments disappearing after the three-week lending period?

Cotton said besides a few broken strings and some scratches – what he describes as “normal wear and tear” to the instruments – there haven’t been any problems, and the library has been able to keep track of all the instruments.

“They’ve (the patrons) been good about getting them (the instruments) back here for the next person,” Cotton said. “I wipe it down, check it out, tune it and it’s ready to go.”

Alltmont attributes the success to the research and preparation Cotton and the library team did to launch the permanent lending program last spring. The team shared its experience with other libraries at a recent conference.

“We’re a destination library; we’re progressive,” Alltmont said. “Come stay and play.”

Contact this reporter at or 440-871-5797.

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