Replying to Joyce Brite's comment yesterday: 'piano rolls could be
checked out from public libraries, the same as CD's, cassettes and videos
This was true; in my collection there are a few rolls with rubber-stamps
or labels on the box indicating that they were the property of 'lending
libraries'. I am sure that many other collectors have seen the same
thing. This seemed to be popular early in the century, since these marks
appear most often on 58 note organ rolls, 65 note Pianola rolls, and
plain-box early 88s.
However, these libraries were not Public Libraries as we know them today.
Up until recent times, there were commercial lending libraries, usually
small independent businesses or departments of bookstores, where books
could be borrowed for a small fee. From the wording on these labels,
the roll lending libraries worked the same way; sometimes the fee
schedule was printed on the labile.
These libraries were sometimes adjuncts to music stores, and one roll
I have indicates that it was the property of a social club that had a
player piano, which would lend their rolls to members for a few
pennies a day.