As a relatively new piano teacher, the idea of a music lending library is one that has become increasingly attractive to me in the past year. However, it is an option that I know next-to-nothing about.
As a student, I can remember the excitement of receiving a brand new book and relishing the fact that it was mine. I would write my name on the inside cover, and if there were any pictures in the book it wouldn't be long before I had colored them in. There's also something special about looking back at those old books and remembering my favorite pieces from each one. This is one reason I've always been a bit hesitant to embrace the idea of a lending library.
On the other hand, I know that many of my students would welcome the opportunity to borrow a book rather than spend the money on it. I already try to cut down on repertoire costs for my students as much as possible, and this would be another great way to do it.
As you can see, I'm still kind of on the fence about this issue, and before I make a decision one way or the other, I wanted to get some feedback from other teachers who may have used this idea successfully (or maybe not so successfully!) in their studios. So here are my questions:
1. Why did you start your lending library? Was there a large initial investment on your part?
2. What kind of material makes up the bulk of your library? Do you have any specific books/series that you'd highly recommend as a core of the library?
3. How do you decide when a student may choose a book? Is it a reward, a fun occasional activity, or does their selection make up part of their main repertoire?
4. How do you keep track of all the music? When a student has a book, what are your policies about the condition of the book, and how much do your write in the music?
5. Have you found this a successful investment of your resources?
I'd love to hear your answers to any/all of these questions!