THE new music library at Lisheens House centre for suicide prevention in Skibbereen is a proving a big hit.
This community resource, where groups and individuals can browse its collection of CDs, or borrow them for free, allows users to chillax with a headset listening to music of their choice in a delightful ‘sitting room’ setting.
Loreli Tomkin, a volunteer at Lisheen’s House, uses the facility regularly.
‘I love listening to music, but a lot of the time what gets played on the radio is just noise to me. I can go to the library and plug into music from my own era, Ella Fitzgerald or Nat King Cole. I get to be my own DJ,’ she smiles.
‘If I have a couple of things to do in town, I often go to the music library and relax between appointments. It’s every bit as good as medicine.’
Karen Billing, another volunteer at Lisheens House, started the music library when she found herself in possession of an extensive collection of classical and jazz CDs bequeathed to her by a lifelong friend, John Gibson, who passed away in 2016.
Since then she has devised many activities around the library, including the ‘Listening for Emotional Well-being’ sessions.
A group from The Irish Wheelchair Association attends this once a month, facilitated by local Bev Cotton.
‘The music is very soothing and the centre is lovely. I really enjoy the sessions here,’ said Annie Tanner, one of the monthly participants.
Bev Cotton and his son Arthur have been regular attendees at some of Karen’s other sessions.
Arthur told The Southern Star: ‘It’s very relaxing and fun as well, you also learn about music – its educational.’
‘The décor is lovely, it’s a very pretty little space,’ says his dad Bev.
Karen added: ‘We pick a composer and allow ourselves undisturbed time to just sit and listen. Sometimes we talk about the feelings that the music has evoked. I like to think that the library provides an aperture into a fantastic world, ready to explore. ‘
As well as the ‘Listening’ sessions, the library will be offering people the experience of group singing, facilitated by Caz Jefferies.
‘Singing is a great way to de-stress,’ says Caz.
‘If people would like to just come and listen, there is no pressure to join in, but of course we hope they will, both men and women.’
Caz uses the ‘call and response’ method: ‘I sing the part and then the group sings it back to me, and before you know it, we have a song, and people are welcome to use instruments as well,’ she explains.
Karen is currently amassing a collection of musical instruments also available to borrow and to be used in conjunction with other activities in the library.
‘This library is here to provide journeys of discovery. If people want to listen, sing or play an instrument for free, we are providing this. We are more than happy to take the listening service out of the library and into community groups and are open to ideas for its further use.’
Enquiries on the music library can be made to Karen at Lisheen’s House at 028 51950.
Lisheens House music library welcomes donations of CDs, vinyl, or musical instruments. A music-themed art exhibition is currently on display until October 28th at Lisheens House’s Ilen Street offices in Skibbereen.