Joel Plaskett plays a tenor guitar as he participates the launch of a musical instruments lending program at the Halifax Public Library in Dartmouth, N.S., on Wednesday. With a valid library card residents can borrow a wide range of musical instruments. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Joel Plaskett helps launch instrument borrowing program at Halifax libraries

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia rocker Joel Plaskett says the library was always a source of inspiration for his music, and he hopes a new program that allows the public to borrow instruments will help encourage more musicians in the Halifax area.

Plaskett was on hand Wednesday for the launch of the Sun Life Financial Musical Instrument Lending Library program, which allows anyone with a library card to borrow instruments — including guitars, banjos and drums — from any of the Halifax Public Libraries.

Speaking from the Alderney Gate Public Library in Dartmouth, Plaskett said he grew up borrowing recorded music from the library, which in turn inspired his songwriting.

But he lived in a musical household where he had access to a variety of instruments, and he recognized that most people don’t have that option.

He said the library program will allow the public to easily explore instruments without having to shell out a lot of money to buy or rent gear.

“To me, it kind of levels the access point … Fundamentally, that’s what the library is all about. With books, it’s a way to educate yourself for free. Music is a part of education,” said Plaskett.

“People use music for all sorts of reasons — sometimes as a career, and it became a career for me because it’s what I knew how to do — but I do think having access is the beginning of a way to fall in love with playing and to teach yourself something and to challenge your brain and use your heart.”

The instruments will be stored at the Alderney Gate Public Library, but are accessible from any library. Library card holders can look through a catalogue at the library or online and request an instrument, which can be picked up at their local branch.

Sun Life Financial has donated $140,000 to the Halifax Public Libraries to pay for the program’s operating costs, and has also provided 150 guitars, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, violins, drums and portable keyboards.

“Music is a large part of the Maritime spirit and we’re so excited to be able to bring this program to Halifax. Music has the ability to connect us with one another while allowing us to express ourselves on a deeper level,” said Paul Joliat, an assistant vice-president at Sun Life Financial.

Halifax Public Libraries will also be holding a musical instrument donation drive, running until Aug. 11 to add to the collection. Residents can drop off their gently used instruments to any branch.

Sun Life Financial has also created a series of videos to help people play the instruments.

The program is already available in eight other Canadian cities including Toronto, Vancouver and Fredericton.

Just Posted

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Councillors in Toronto, Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops… Continue reading

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Most Read