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We Survived Boogie Fever!!

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, I had the pleasure to present some braille music scores and talk about the NLS Music program to many people in a short amount of time.  They were all very happy and streaming by the Main Reading Room desk in the Jefferson building at a very rapid pace.  However, they weren’t running…they were DANCING!

Mirror ball with Library of Congress logo.

And singing and smiling and laughing and boogieing. The Library of Congress presented a Bibliodiscotheque from April 12-May 6, culminating in a dance party to the music of Gloria Gaynor.

Gloria Gaynor singing at the Library of Congress, Great Hall

I saw many sequins, platform shoes, afros, medallions, polyester worn proudly, unbuttoned shirts, and some great dance moves, but my best take-away of the evening was watching people’s reactions when they realized they were reading braille music with their fingers.  And not only reading music, but reading Disco music!

Cover of braille music score, “I Will Survive” by Fekaris and Perren.

Their enthusiasm was gratifying, since at the Music Section our interactions are usually limited to telephone and e-mail.

As the dancers strolled down the aisle and circled the desk, other Library divisions displayed their treasures as well.

Librarians at the Main Reading Room Desk with information on hair and makeup of the disco era.

And while the dancers were moving non-stop, they were dancing and singing to disco music they heard on their headphones. They were all members of the Silent Disco Society, and rather than a funny hat with a tassel, they wore headphones that flashed colors and played classic disco music. I remember disco, and yes, I danced as much as possible. It was irresistible.

I’m happy our patrons can get their groove on with some of the classics of the disco era, like Stayin’ Alive (BRM 25125), I Will Survive (BRM 25487) Disco Duck (BRM 30622 prepare yourself;  there is some quacking called for in this song), and if you still want more, Disco Piano at BRM 28568.

The history of the Main Reading Room has seen its share of enlightenment, but I don’t think it has ever “gotten down” like this before.  And we survived!

NLS staff at Bibliodiscotheque. From left to right, Director Karen Keninger, Music Reader Librarian Mary Dell Jenkins, Acting Section Head for Publications and Media, David Pelizzari.