Library Organization

As an orchestra librarian, I am constantly sending music out and receiving packages in the mail with more music. We frequently lend music out to other orchestras and I have to somehow keep track of where the music is at so that I don’t go crazy when I can’t find a piece that I am looking for. I want to create a relatively simple library lending system, though I can’t find anything that is both inexpensive and easy to implement. Most of the systems that are advertised online are for standard books, not music. Googling “music library” sends you to advice on organizing your iTunes account. Not exactly what I’m looking for.

So, since I can’t find anything in existence that satisfies my requirements, I’m making a very basic system on my own. I’ve decided to use Siri Shortcuts to do this. Ultimately, I’m creating QR codes with the piece’s most important information and I’m stapling it to the lending information sheet that stays with the music. Then, I can quickly scan the code to either see all the information I need or check it out to another orchestra.

How the shortcut works: I have two different Shortcuts, one to create a QR code and one to check out music. The one to create a QR code asks what the name of the piece is, who the composer is, and where I store the piece. From there, the answers are placed into a text block and a QR code is generated based on that. I resize the image (because the automatic full page is a little bit excessive) to 75 pixels wide. A PDF is then generated and sent to the printer. Then I grab it from the printer and staple it to my information sheet!

To check out music, the Shortcut is even simpler. The shortcut scans the QR code and asks me where the music is being sent. From there, a text document is created with the information from the barcode, the answer to where the music is being sent, and the current date. Then, everything is added to an existing Note in Apple Notes. Easy! It’s an easy way to keep track of where music is and a quick way for me to find where to refine the music once it returns.

Ultimately, this system might be a little excessive and is probably not completely necessary. Putting the information in to create the QR code takes the same amount of time as it would if I simply typed the information into the Apple Note on my own. However, once the QR codes for the most commonly lent out pieces are done, it will save me about 30 seconds a piece, which will add up with the amount of pieces that I send out. While this might seem unnecessarily complicated, it gives me joy that it is being done in this manner. Also, the little bit of time that I save will be worth it in the long run, I believe.

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