Launched in October 2016, word spread quickly about the new opportunity for musicians in St. Louis. The library sent out a press release to media and bought print ads in The Riverfront Times, a local publication that focuses on music, arts, and culture, while librarians also alerted their musician friends.
After just two calls for submissions, Listen Up STL featured over 130 albums from more than 120 local artists. The library has also gone on to host an Listen Up STL Live concert series, with performances at multiple branches throughout the year. The atypical library programming has not only opened up new audiences for musicians but brought in new patrons as well.
“[The program] introduces new music to people, and paints a dynamic picture of what a library can be,” said Denise Chappell, Adult Programming Specialist. “It really does create a strong sense of community. Branch staff enjoy it and patrons look forward to it. We’ve had tailgaters who pop up chairs in the parking lot or set up picnics. People bring their children and their dogs; it is a safe place for people to come and gather.”