Posted by: Brad Nixon | October 26, 2016

And … Who, Again, Is Bob Dylan?

As I reported just under two weeks ago (HERE), the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to American songwriter and performer, Bob Dylan.

Whenever that award is announced, people around the world respond, variously, “So well deserved!” “I’m surprised they overlooked X again,” and, “Who?”

Presumably, Mr. Dylan’s name is as widely known as that of almost anyone else who might’ve received the prize this year. His work — not “serious literature,” but songs — may, indeed, be more present in the culture than the work of most novelists or poets (even, alas, Richard Wilbur’s) likely to have been named.

Still, once can assume that the few remaining record and bookstores on the planet, plus the online vendors of digital music all experienced an upsurge in demand for Bob’s work. Some people would be giving him their first listen, others might say, “Gee, I haven’t really paid attention to what he’s been doing for the past 40 years,” and others would wonder if he ever wrote anything other than music and lyrics (he has).

In addition to retail outlets, another worldwide resource responded to the jolt of interest: librarians. In libraries around the world (including mine), CDs, books and collections of sheet music came off the shelves to be displayed near the library check-out counter or in the main showcase. Astute librarians have the souls of retailers, although public libraries, of course, receive their income (never enough) from other sources. While they’re motivated to increase circulation, not sales, they’re just as attuned as Barnes and Noble and Amoeba Records to what’s new, what’s trending, what’s on that Bestseller List and, when the annual award arrives, who got the Nobel.

It’s a good thing to remember. Everywhere in the world, Bob’s stuff, there for the consumption of anyone with a library card.

Everywhere? Even in Rochester, population 6,200, 45 miles due south of South Bend in north central Indiana?

Yes. Here’s the display at the Fulton County Public Library.


Regular reader and commenter, Feisty Froggy, sent that photo of the library’s display of Dylaniana, with the drawers of the venerable card catalog serving as shelves.

Feisty says they’re having a difficult time keeping the display stocked, due to demand for Dylan’s music and books, and books about him. That’s good. That’s what libraries do.

It’s also a reminder that your local library may be an overlooked source of music in a wide variety of genres, not to mention songbooks, sheet music, even opera, orchestral and musical show scores.

Just another day in the life of one local library. Ask a librarian .. and thank them.

© Copyright Brad Nixon 2016. Photo © Fulton County Indiana Public Library 2016, courtesy of Feisty Froggy, used by kind permission.

Feisty Froggy’s blog, Dewey Hop, is tracking progress of select readings through the entire Dewey Decimal System in the library to serve as an example of the variety and scope of what a library holds. Check out the blog HERE. Give Feisty a “like.”


  1. Thanks so much for the shout out and the very positive comments regarding librarians and libraries. The Bob Dylan display has been extremely popular!


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