Set-Up (or What You Need to Get Started)
We pulled our iPod out of the box and noticed that it was a bit quiet for our purposes. We tend to have between 25-50 people in an average program and need the music to sound over them. After talking to our trusty IT guys, they rigged an av port in the wall, especially for the iPod, that will hook into our meeting room sound system. This did force us to also get a base for our iPod with an av cord, but it also has a remote control (I am all about the remote control).
Next Step: Setting Up Your Music
The first part of this step is easy-just load your program cds into iTunes. The second part requires a little thought. iTunes uses something called playlists. Think of playlists as cataloging your own music collection by theme. I run many playlists based on how I use them. A few of them include Parachute Games, Possible Dance Party Songs, Shaker Songs, etc.
After you name your playlists, listen to your cds and move songs that fit into your various playlists. I don't know if you can see mine well (it is my first shot at combing snip and screen shots), but I have a separate playlist for each of the different story times that I run. There is also a playlist for possible story time songs. When I want to shake up my lineup, this is my first stop. It saves me a lot of time because I have already gone through the songs once and know that all of the songs will fit. For Possible Parachute Songs, I tend to look for songs that go around, such as Ring Around the Rosie, or up and down, such as The Wheels on the Bus. If a song uses shakers, scarves, or ribbons, they each go into a separate playlist.
Cool Things You Can Do
You may also notice that at the top left of each playlist under the title is the total time used for all of the songs. This is really helpful when planning a half-hour parachute game program when you want your songs to equal 25-30 minutes.
If multiple people in your organization use iTunes, you may want to check out the Home Sharing option (File-Home Sharing). The only glitch here is that you will all want the same iTunes account (maybe use a reference desk email to create your account).
Also, if you are still in the cd generation, iTunes will burn you a disc with your playlist. This way you aren't scrambling to switch cds in between stories and rhymes.
Thinking About Copyright and iTunes
As librarians, copyright is one of those things that we tend to think of. We want our performers and authors to keep churning out items for us so we don't want to abuse things like iTunes. Here are some things that I do to keep my use fair:
- We purchase every single cd that I load into iTunes for program use. The only time that we don't is when they are out-of-print. If it is a cd that I will use all of the time (such as for story time), I will purchase 1 copy to put in our professional collection.
- When I use iTunes for a program, I either pull all of the cds into the room for people to check out (as a display) or I create a discography to pass out. I like to promote new artists and their cds. Customers love it because they hear the music and want to go out and buy their own copies. Plus, they look to us as "experts" and if we say something is good, chances are good that they will believe us.
- This is for educational purposes. We aren't running any of our programs for profit. All of our programs tie into early literacy or education. I don't keep my personal music on my work iTunes so I don't blur the lines.