As the practice of downloading music from the Internet becomes more common, the use of music CDs is declining. So goes the common thought. However, at the Rio Rancho Public Library, the music CD collection continues to grow. Judging by the number of checkouts, and the patrons constantly browsing in this area, it is a well-loved and appreciated collection.

Both the Loma Colorado and Esther Bone libraries have a growing music CD collection. The beginnings of the collection date back to early 2005, when the libraries were given a group of about 1,100 CDs from a 2003 settlement of a class-action lawsuit over price-fixing by some major record labels and large music retailers.

The companies agreed to give more than $75 million worth of CDs, nationwide, to schools, libraries and other nonprofit groups.

Although many of the CDs did not fit the libraries' collection development goals, the 300 they chose to keep was a beginning. The Friends of the Library sold the remaining CDs and raised $3,500 to purchase more popular CDs that would circulate well. Once the libraries had the initial collection in place, donations from the public were, and continue to be, a large part of our collection.

Today the collection holds about 4,500 CDs and has had close to 107,000 checkouts. The collection is represented by 23 categories, ranging from pop to classical.

The number of CDs in each category varies, with the largest being 1,363 in the rock category and the smallest being the miscellaneous category with six. This category consists of workout music, guided stress relief and nature sounds.

The genre with the most checkouts per title is rap, with 33 checkouts each on average, and the genre with the least is classical vocal with eight per title.

The library sometimes gets requests for local artists' music. Local groups and musicians who perform at the library, and who have a CD available, usually donate a copy of their music to the library. These CDs can be found within the music genre in which they fit. An example of this would be "Le Chat Lunatique," whose music is found in jazz, or Randy Huston in the country genre.

Unfortunately, many local artists do not have CDs available or their music is not readily available for purchase.

There is a librarian at each branch who selects music for their collection. They try to coordinate their purchases to produce a well-rounded overall selection. They keep up with current popular music and obtain classics as well. If you have never browsed our music collection, stop in at either branch and ask to see it. The librarians guarantee that you will find something to suit your musical taste.

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