BEST PLACE TO PRACTICE PIANO IN PUBLIC - 2002
Friends of Minneapolis Public Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1904
Scoot up the escalator, head toward the reference desk, and turn left beyond the popular CDs, the cabinets of sheet music, and the shelves of musical scores. It's dead ahead of you now--in fact, if someone's already in there, you might hear it before you see it. Tucked away in this corner of the downtown Minneapolis library is a smallish room, simply furnished with a few green plants and an upright piano. If you're suddenly struck with the need to tickle the ivories, it's a great place to practice pieces from the library's extensive music collection, or just improvise. To use the room, show your library card at the reference desk in the art and music department. Just like that you're guaranteed 30 minutes of practice time (if no one else signs up, you could spend the whole day there). The room is named for Emil Oberhoffer, who, while serving as director of the Philharmonic Club of Minneapolis in 1901, set about building a permanent orchestra here. In 1903 he founded the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, which he directed until 1923. He donated a trust fund to the Minneapolis Public Library, which is used to fund the music collection. And he also left the library his grand piano. It's in storage now, and in need of repair. But the buzz at the library is that perhaps it will be refurbished and reintroduced to patrons when the planned new central library is completed in 2006.