It’s been two years in the making and it’s been open to the public since the beginning of the year. But last night — taking advantage of the buzz around induction week — the ribbon was snipped on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Library & Archives. After the ribbon cutting and the usual speeches full of thank yous to both deep-pocket donors and the worker bees who spent three years making the facility a reality, the mob surged into the spacious reading room to peruse the shelves of books and racks of music magazines, and sign up for their library cards.
The ribbon-cutting was preceded by a forum featuring a panel of music historians and academics talking about things they’d discovered in the collections. Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye played a 1978 live recording of the Ramones’ “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” made by a fan who toted a tape recorded to clubs in the New York area in the 70s, and Brenda Nelson-Strauss of the Archive of African-American Music and Culture at Indiana University showed some diagrams and correspondence relating the construction of Parliament-Funkadelic’s mothership. Their finds were intended to pique interest in what rock music researchers, scholars, journalist, authors, and fans might find in the collection.
The Library and Archives is located at Tri-C’s Metro Campus. It’s open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Many people have complained about the inaccessibility of the collection to regular working stiffs; in response, the archives’ director Andy Leach has said that sometime down the road they hope to be open on Saturday or on an evening. — Anastasia Pantsios