Grand piano brings good sounds to Clarion library

Clarion Library director Daniel Parker sits at the baby grand piano inside the library. (By Randy Bartley)

CLARION -The halls at the Clarion Free Library are alive with the sound of music.

There, in a setting usually dedicated to silence, sits a baby grand piano.

The piano is not an ornament. Instead it is there to be used and is part of a plan to make the library relevant to the community. Instead of a place of silence, it is a place of activity.

"That is the old impression of libraries that someone is going to jump out from behind the book stacks and go shush," said Daniel Parker, the library's executive director.

"That is not really the image of the library that we want to promote. We want people to think of us a community space with books rather than a library with a community room," he said.

"We wanted a piano in the library for some time," said Parker. "We do a number of events and we thought it would be nice to have live music. Sometimes we would bring in a keyboard but that would get old after a while. We thought if we ever found a piano that someone would donate to us we would take it.

"Julie Aaron, who is a good friend of the library had this piano in her house and she said she was tired of dusting it," said Parker. "She told us if we wanted it to come and get it."

The library did want it but getting the piano into the main floor of the library was no easy task. "We hired a piano mover and it took four men to get it in here," said Parker.

"We have it set up so that anyone who wants to play it they are welcome to come in and play it," he said. "They can't play on it but they can play it. If you can't play it we don't want you to touch it but if you can play it then by all means, play it.

"Recently we had a man who plays the piano drop in and sit down and start to play," said Parker. "When he was done, he stood up and said 'I just had to get that out of my system' Then he left," laughed Parker.

"We used it for our fall reception and we have our holiday concert coming up (tonight at 6 p.m.) in the main reading room. They will be playing the piano then. That is what drew the concert here. They were looking for a venue and we had the instrument," said Parker.

"We want people to use this building," said Parker. "This is a public asset. If that means someone wants to hold a meeting here, bring their child in to get a book or use a computer that is what we want them to do. As long as it isn't terribly disturbing, we don't mind."

Sitting behind the piano, Parker said, "We wouldn't mind if there was music here everyday."