Students come for final free vinyl giveaway in Wimberly Library

The Recorded Sound Archives hosted the three-day event.


Students search through the boxes of free records and tapes from the Recorded Sound Archives on Tuesday. Celina DeCastro | Contributing Writer

Celina DeCastro, Contributing Writer


rom Nov. 21-23, students grabbed themselves some free vinyl records on the fifth floor of the Wimberly Library as part of an event hosted by the Recorded Sound Archives.

Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the three-day period, students lined up to search through the many boxes of cassettes and restored vinyl records donated by individuals and organizations since the operation began 14 years ago.

Its website states: “Originally established in 2002 as a small project dedicated to the preservation of Jewish music, the RSA has matured into a robust digitization operation for all types of sound recordings.

It currently has over 100,000 recordings that vary in type.

According to Alethea Perez, the operations coordinator for the RSA, this event has occurred twice a year for about four years to date.

“We are looking to give away a couple thousand records,” said the coordinator.

Perez said this was the final free vinyl giveaway indefinitely, allowing the staff time to reassess the current collection of records.

Ben Roth, the sound restoration technician, and other staff members gave tours to show off the many vintage record players in the sound and graphic restoration office, from the 1913 Edison cylinder player to 1970s eight-track tape players.

“Our records are purely donations,” said Perez. “The records vary from artists local and abroad.”

Several types of music records can be found at the RSA, from a 1901 record about the Civil War to eight-track tapes of Billy Joel.

According to Roth, their initial records consisted of Jewish music but over time and after many donations, there is now an enormous collection of jazz records and early American vintage recordings.

Once the donations are received, the staff will restore the audio of the records by using present-day programs to remove the pops and clicks off the music while using Photoshop to enhance the cover of the record. They later digitize and stream the audio online on their website.

“We keep the best version of the records for our archives, we do the giveaway to get rid of the excess or surplus of records,” said Perez.

Cher O’Bryant, a senior psychology major, came early on Tuesday to search through the boxes of restored vinyl records.

“I actually have a vinyl collection at home,” said O’Bryant. “I am interested in collecting vintage stuff. I came today to find some records my mom might be interested in.”

Roth and Perez said as many as 250 students attended the first day of the giveaway event.

Although the free vinyl giveaway doors are closing, students can volunteer by participating in jazz data entry not only to earn volunteer hours. but also have the opportunity to listen to and be surrounded by the shelves full of records, cassettes and record players.

Freshman biology major Elaine Quiles said she was in shock that this was the final giveaway.

“I feel like I should grab a whole bunch,” said Quiles. “I definitely should volunteer here.”

Quiles, who said she has a longtime love for latin, jazz and salsa music, was introduced to vinyl records at a young age and is now an avid collector.

“My boyfriend asked me to look and find some swing music for him,” she said. “He and I both collect and own a record player.”

If interested, students can volunteer from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday by calling 561-297-0080. The recordings are also digitized and available to stream on the RSA’s website.

Celina DeCastro is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @DeCa_Celina