Preservation fund donates vinyl records to UT library

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William Vanden Dries, chairman of the Audio Preservation Fund, and David Hunter, music librarian at the Collections Deposit Library, listen to a record in the library basement. Most of the library’s contents are available to researchers and enrolled students upon request.

Photo Credit: Emilia Harris | Daily Texan Staff

The UT Historical Music Recordings Collection added more than 1,000 vinyl records to its collection Tuesday with a donation from the Audio Preservation Fund.

William Vanden Dries, board of directors chairman for the Austin-based nonprofit, said the new donation includes genres ranging from jazz music to movie soundtracks, all from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. The organization, which is dedicated to preserving music and sound recordings, worked with staff at the UT Fine Arts Library to determine which tracks would be valuable to donate.

“We found out which recordings UT didn’t already have in their collection and donated the records we held,” Vanden Dries said. “This specific group came from one collector and is really diverse.”

The campus community will be able to access the additions to the larger collection by September.

The Audio Preservation Fund works with private donors to obtain recordings, restore sound quality when necessary and determine suitable recipients for collections, Vanden Dries said. He said the organization has obtained more than 5,000 audio recordings since he and two other UT alumni started it in 2009 and donates the music to institutions across the country, usually universities or museums.

David Hunter, Fine Arts Library curator and senior lecturer, said the University is grateful for all donations that expand the current collection of more than 200,000 audio recordings.

Hunter said the Fine Arts Library receives between 30 and 50 requests each week during the school year from students seeking specific sound recordings.

“This is an opportunity to add what we’ve been missing to our collection,” Hunter said. “We don’t have any funds to go out and buy LP records, so we are very much dependent on gifts. The Preservation Fund helped us obtain a whole bunch we do not already have.”

Vanden Dries said he hopes his organization will be able to continue aiding University students with their studies through more than donations.

This spring, members of the Audio Preservation Fund created an online catalog archiving collections in the Texas Music Museum, located in Austin. UT alumna Virginia Rowland volunteered in the effort as part of a senior capstone course in information studies. Rowland said creating the catalog helped her recognize the importance of the University’s partnership with outside organizations.

“I think UT should maintain a relationship with the Audio Preservation Fund,” Rowland said. “It’s amazing that [Vanden Dries] has an interest in helping maintain our archives, seeking quality donations and helping students.”