You can now borrow musical instruments at Halifax-area libraries

The 150-instrument collection will be housed at the Alderney Gate Public Library in Dartmouth, but the instruments will be transferred between branches to get them to people's local library branches.

Sun Life Financial donated 150 instruments to the program, which already exists in 8 other Canadian cities

Joel Plaskett performed at Wednesday's announcement. He donated a signed four-string tenor guitar to the collection. (Robert Short/CBC)

Anyone with a library card in the Halifax region can now borrow a musical instrument.

On Wednesday, Halifax Public Libraries announced a new program that will allow people to check out a guitar, violin or hand drum from any branch.

The 150-instrument collection will be housed at the Alderney Gate Public Library in Dartmouth, but the network of vans that shuttles library materials between branches will also be used to transport instruments.

Sun Life Financial donated 150 instruments and $140,000 for a technician to maintain them. (Robert Short/CBC)

Local musician Joel Plaskett performed at Wednesday's announcement and donated a signed four-string tenor guitar to the collection.

"I've written a lot of songs on the tenor," said Plaskett. "I just thought it would be a nice one to have in the public system because it's one of things that people won't try unless they stumble upon it."

Sun Life Financial donated the instruments for the program, along with $140,000 to pay for a technician to maintain them.

Nova Scotia musician Joel Plaskett was on hand to play a tune at the launch of a new instrument borrowing program through Halifax Public Libraries. 3:33

Halifax is the ninth city in Canada to get such a collection.

Sun Life officials say the instruments have been well taken care of and are appreciated by the people who use the programs.

"When we launched in Vancouver, the first instrument to go out the door was a mandolin to an 86-year-old woman," said Paul Joliat, vice-president of sponsorships for Sun Life. "And the look of celebration on her face, it was fantastic."

Paul Joliat (left), the vice-president of sponsorships for Sun Life Financial, with Joel Plaskett. (Robert Short/CBC)

Library officials anticipate great demand for the instruments, so they hope to get more donations from the public.

Woodwind instruments like clarinets and saxophones will not be accepted for health reasons.

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About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca

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