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Library CD stacks offer music for everyone

Library users had mixed reactions when they perused the list of 3,787 new CDs that will appear on local shelves next month.

I don't know half these people, said Andrea Raper, 15, of Medford, as she looked at the 17-page list of musicians and titles in the Central Library teen department Wednesday.

Oh, cool, I found a CD that I've been looking for... the Judds, said her friend, Shari Pearson, 15. They're actually going to get some decent jazz music in here ... classical music is good ' it stimulates your brain.

Ninety-seven boxes of free compact discs, valued at nearly &

36;52,000, recently arrived at the Jackson County Library System as part of a &

36;142 million court settlement on nationwide CD price fixing.

The attorneys general of 43 states and territories, including Oregon, settled a lawsuit in 2001 with five music distributors and three retailers. The states accused the companies of entering into illegal deals to increase record prices and reduce competition among retailers. Part of the settlement included sending about 5.5 million music CDs to libraries.

— Jackson County's allotment ranges from Aerosmith to Glen Campbell, Billie Holiday to Toad the Wet Sprocket, Clint Black to John Lithgow's Singin in the Bathtub. It also includes Vivaldi and Mozart, as well as Latin music ' something for just about everyone.

I don't know a lot of these people, but the ones I do know seem pretty good, said 16-year-old Dawn Breeze.

The Medford teens said they listen to a lot of music, and while they weren't familiar with all the artists listed, they were excited to see the mixture of music and thought there would be several titles they would check out.

There's no Black Eyed Peas, they're my favorite group, said Andrea. 'Star Wars' ' I saw that movie like three times.

Conway Twitty ' cool, said Shari.

Despite a few clunkers in the bunch, librarians were happy to receive the CDs.

We've got a good selection of stuff, said Anne Guevara, a Young Adult Services librarian who orders CDs for the library system.

Not all of the &

36;51,769 worth of CDs will end up in the collection, she said.

She said the library received more than 20 copies of a Jessica Simpson CD. They could put 15 copies in the library branches, but they don't need more than that, she said.

Also, nothing is new ' in fact, everything seems at least three years old, she said. And some titles are obscure.

Entertainment Weekly's 'Greatest Hits from 1966' ' I mean, come on, she said.

Extra staff time involved in cataloging and processing the CDs, plus supply costs will come out of the library's budget, she said.

So they're not really free, she said.

Most of the CDs are only one copy of a title. She said the library tries to buy multiple copies of titles to put in different branches, which ends up being more efficient, so the one copy of Roger Miller's Greatest Hits may not make it into the system.

The state librarian is setting up a swap system for librarians who decide they don't want to keep certain titles.

Guevara said she's also looking into selling unwanted CDs at the Friends of the Library bookstore, and using those funds to purchase desired titles.

Part of the settlement agreement is that libraries cannot deduct the gift from their music CD budgets, so the new music will be in addition to the &

36;17,000 annual music CD budget.

Lorrie Kovell, JCLS manager, said new titles, such as Pearl Jam, should start appearing on the computerized catalog in the next couple weeks.

She said patrons are sometimes confused about how to find a CD they're looking for.

'Artist search' is the best way to do it, she said.

Meanwhile, patrons like the three Medford teens can look forward to finding new music on the shelves.

I like Beethoven, said Andrea. It's very stimulating and it makes me go to sleep.

Tom Petty! said Shari.

Isn't he a race car driver? asked Andrea.

It's just a bunch of eclectic selections, said Michael Sahlberg, 17. There's different varieties and styles of music... . There's no Styx, oh well.


The Three Tenors' Christmas CD sits alongside Handel in the 'C' section. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell