On the fifth floor of the Toronto Reference Library, an older woman sits at a listening station that comes equipped with headphones and a record player. But she’s not grooving to Glenn Gould or hearing Coleman Hawkins. Her coat and scarf are bundled atop the turntable. She’s reading Baudelaire, and the corner of the library that holds a who-knew collection of 14,995 LPs is the quietest spot she could ever find.
But that could change. Last month, the library – on Yonge St. near Bloor St., a stone’s throw away from the long-gone but accurately named Incredible Record Store – held an event called Vinyl 101, an introduction into the rabbit-hole world of record collecting and turntable love. It was well attended, populated by an earnest mix of novices and fanatics, young and old, men and women, and vinyl nerds and those who wish to be.
At a panel of experts – a DJ, a librarian, a hardcore record collector and a hi-fi store rep – they lobbed a steady volley of questions: What’s better, a belt-drive turntable or a direct-drive one? How best to clean vinyl? What’s the deal with 78s?
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