A day in the life of the Music Hire Library
By Miriam Higgins
My friends always ask me: what do you do all day?!
Well, every day Bethan, new manager Guy, and I make sure orders for music are present and correct to be sent around the world. We also update the website, look at which titles need re-engraving next, work with our agents (who are worldwide), and answer customer enquiries either over the phone or by email.
In the morning, I check for any orders that have come in overnight and get them booked on. Our post is collected twice a day and it can often be a mad dash to get all the orders ready for despatch for when the postman arrives. He will also put parcels in our returns room for us to sort through and organise. This includes parcels from our printer with new material of Walton Sonata for Strings which needs to be loaded on to our management system and the material put onto the shelves. A set is also due to be sent out to our agent in Germany.
We had a visit from one of the music editors to discuss the orchestral score and parts for a choral work which is soon to be published. We were able to look through various examples of other works by the same composer to compare. We discussed what would be the best course of action for the piece they were working on and agreed a production timetable.
Over the last month we have dealt with a number of phone calls about Easter concerts and lots of vocal scores have been booked and sent out. Our shelves are starting to look a bit empty! I had a phone call today asking about repertoire suggestions for similar forces to another piece they were doing. This was really interesting and I was able to help to give plenty of information about a number of our titles. Surprisingly, I also provided several quotes for Christmas carols. Christmas is all year round for us!
After lunch we have a production meeting with the Head of Production, the Music Contracts Manager, and Promotions to discuss new titles that will be coming into the Music Hire Library. It can be really exciting seeing titles change and develop and eventually be printed and sent out for their first performance. After the meeting I will speak to Mike, our printer, to make sure the schedule is up to date and arrange to send the next batch of masters for printing.
Shakespeare is big on our priority list this year (2014 is the 450th anniversary of his birth) so we have been looking through old sets seeing what we should replace. Top of our list are: Henry V, Richard III, and Serenade to Music.
In the afternoon, Bethan and I will be trying to find 420 vocal scores needed for a concert of Haydn The Creation in New Zealand. We’ll start with what we have here then ask our European agents to return any they do not need. Hopefully we won’t have to ask our American agents as well!
So it’s been a varied day and all begins again tomorrow …
Miriam Higgins is Music Hire Librarian at Oxford University Press. The 8th of February is National Libraries Day (UK).
The Oxford University Press Music Hire Library is one of the largest commercial music hire libraries in the world. Our hire catalogue contains thousands of individual titles. We have especially strong representation in twentieth-century British music, classic choral editions, and opera choruses. We also own the largest Christmas carol orchestration library in the world.