Library Chat Podcast: November 2021

In November’s Library Chat Podcast, we begin a new format where we invite a different library staff member to join us as a special guest.  They will choose the topic to be discussed during Library Chat and we will talk to them about what they do on the library team, as well as books and podcasts around their chosen topic. 

For November’s Library Chat, Tim West, the library’s Digital Recording Specialist/Studio Manager, joins us to talk about the topic of music.  Tim discusses his work producing digital audio books for the library collection, working with our volunteer narrators and his love of music.

Books we discussed during the podcast:

  • Your Song Changed My Life: from Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, thirty-five beloved artists on their journey and the music that inspried it by Bob Boilen DB85362
  • Off the Record: an oral history of popular music by Mitchell Fink and Joe Smith DB31730
  • Walk This Way: the autobiography of Aerosmith by Stephen Davis  DB45032
  • Man in Black by Johnny Cash  DB58372

Podcast discussed  during the podcast:
By Song Exploder produced and edited by host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway.

Music Resources from the Nationa Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled:




Music Services from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled

Patrons often ask if we have music materials as part of our collection.  The Music Section of the National Library Service for Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) was established in 1962 and has expanded to be the largest music collection of its kind in the world. These music materials are circulated to patrons directly from the NLS headquarters in Washington, DC.  Meaning they do not come from our library here in Iowa.  Any patron of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled is eligible to receive music services.  The collection consists of more than 25,000 audio, braille, large print music scores, texts, and other instructional materials.  Musical recordings intended solely for listening pleasure are not included in the music collection, as they are readily available commercially and from public libraries. Please contact the NLS Music Section directly at 1-800-424-8567 ext 2 or by email at for more information or to request music materials.

More Resources:

  • Visit the Music Materials on the NLS website for updates and to access music publications available on the Internet
  • Check out NLS Music Notes Blog.  The NLS Music Section has a blog on the Library of Congress website called NLS Music Notes. The blog posts highlight the music collection, present newly added titles, profiles of musicians who are blind or visually impaired, and feature braille music transcribers and their work, along with a variety of related music topics and activities.

National Library Service Music Notes Blog

I wanted to share a great resource from the National Library Service (NLS), NLS Music Notes Blog. Here is the description of the blog from NLS:

“NLS Music Notes is a blog for and about those who want, need or provide the special format music of braille, audio, and large print offered by the NLS Music Section. We will showcase this collection, which covers both classical and popular music, with posts of new titles added, along with interviews of and articles about blind and low vision musicians, music braille transcribers, as well as features about current music events and activities.”  Go to NLS Music Notes Blog

Also, here is a link to more information about the music services provided by the National Library Service. Patrons have access to a collection of braille, large-print, and recorded instructional materials about music and musicians.