Instrument-lending libraries on their way to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

January 04, 2016


A musical education—or simply even access to musical instruments—can work wonders for many people. The act of just listening to music has revealed powerful therapeutic qualities, even assisting those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s in remembering pieces of their past. Going the extra mile and learning to play, and then to create music, has academic benefits for children. But the problem with learning to play an instrument—as is similar with high-cost sports like hockey—is a simple economic one: not everyone can afford it. Despite Jack White and his piece of wood and string, instruments can be very expensive. Try rigging together your own tuba.



A new program though, the Globe and Mail reports, could help change that. The Joe Chithalen Memorial Musical Instrument Lending Library in Kingston, ON named after the late local musician, has taken an extensive instrument collection and made pieces of it available to rent. After Chithalen’s death at 32 from an allergic reaction, his friends started the library in his memory. The community has already seen the positive impact of the library, noting that it has encouraged many children to become interested and excited about playing music.

While the program hasn’t yet moved into any other cities, the Parkdale branch of the Toronto Public Library may be the first to employ the program outside of Kingston. Sun Life Financial may provide sponsorship, although they “declined to speak about the project until it’s official,” the Globe and Mail says.


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About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.

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