Before Camp Verde Community Library opened its new 17,000square-foot facility last November, Library Director Kathy Hellman led a tour of the facility and pondered the possibility that musicians might one day play in there — not in a room somewhere, closed off from the public, but among the books.
“Can’t you just see it?” Hellman said as she looked down from the second floor balcony.
In July, the building was still very much in process, dusty and open to the elements. The building’s eventual appearance could not easily be imagined. Despite Hellman’s encouragement, picturing musicians in the stacks took some effort.
What was only an idea has since become a regular feature: On Thursday, April 13, the library celebrated the second Music in the Stacks performance featuring Larry and Leslie Latour from Rimrock, Mike McReynolds from Camp Verde, Jo Berger from Prescott and Ron McClain from Cottonwood.
According to Adult Programs Library Specialist Carson Ralston, the rotating-artist event is intended to showcase both local and national musicians who regularly entertain in Northern Arizona. The concerts are performed in the library’s Fireside Room, repeating the second Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Hellman said the idea for Music in the Stacks came together when local musician Gary Simpkins, who organizes and plays a similar event at Thanks a Latte, approached her with an idea for a rotating musician series.
“It went right along with what I was hoping to do,” Hellman said. “To me, it’s just an amazing opp to offer another kind of program to the community .... By doing it on Thursday we’re not competing with Thanks a Latte. We’re complementing it, and it gives promotion to local musicians.”
According to Hellman, one musician has already been approached about playing a gig elsewhere as a result of exposure during Music in the Stacks — an occurrence she hopes to see repeated again and again. Hellman added that Music in the Stacks is part of an ongoing effort to take advantage of “all kinds of artistic opportunities [the facility] offers,” establishing the library as a destination for viewing art, interacting with art in a way that Camp Verde residents might not otherwise experience.
Hellman is gearing up to increase the amount of visual art displayed on the library’s walls. The move is pending approval of a display policy, which Hellman will discuss with the Camp Verde Town Council prior to enacting.
“We want a gallery-type situation where every three or four months we switch out the display,” Hellman said. “We’re getting it set up so there are specific places where art can be displayed.” In addition to being displayed, Hellman wants to hold a reception each time a new artist comes in.