Bonna Boettcher, Head of Special Collections
In 1998, BGSU Libraries learned of a bequest in excess of $150,000, made to the Libraries from the estate of Frank and Virginia Crawford. Mr. Crawford was a 1930 graduate of BGSU; his wife, Virginia, spent much of her career as a public school librarian. In directing the bequest to the Libraries, the Crawfords were able to honor Mr. Crawford’s alma mater and Mrs. Crawford’s profession. Linda Dobb, then Dean of Libraries and now Executive Vice President of BGSU, decided to use a substantial portion of the bequest for a much-needed renovation of the listening facilities in the Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives.
Established in 1967, the Sound Recordings Archives is an internationally known repository of more than 650,000 popular sound recordings and supporting documentation. In 1979, the Music Library was established, the two collections were merged into a single administrative unit, and expanded listening facilities were constructed. With minor modifications, those facilities were still in place well into the 1990s. Although preliminary plans for the renovation had been in place, a funding source had not been identified. The timing of the Crawford’s bequest was perfect!
The new facilities include twenty-one custom listening carrels, a staff-use control area, and custom software to control all operations. Individuals who request to listen to recordings are assigned a carrel and headphones. Staff retrieve the materials, make the necessary connections via a dedicated workstation, and load them into the appropriate component. Patrons have full volume and balance control, and for those listening to tapes and CDs, full remote capability from the carrels. All playback equipment is studio quality, providing listeners with high-quality sound.
A celebration was held on 1 March, 2002 in the Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives to honor the Crawford’s request and officially name the new listening facility the “Frank and Virginia Crawford Listening Center.”