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The Earle Levon “Vonskis”
Memorial Lending Library

Boasting a start-up collection of recordings and books that exceeds 7,000 titles, the “We Always Swing”® Jazz Series launched the “Lending Library” on July 1, 2013. A year later to the day, in keeping with our 20th Anniversary Celebration and Retrospective, the official title of the “Lending Library” became: The Earle LeVon “Vonskis” Freeman Memorial Library, so named for the great Chicago tenor saxophonist [b. 10/3/23 – d. 8/12/12] who had a vast and seminal influence upon the generations and legions of musicians with who he shared his seven decades of experience.

The Freeman library is constantly growing. Its titles run from jazz's beginnings right up to today's newest modern sounds. Which ever style you prefer, whatever mood you are in, selections can be found in the “Freeman Memorial Library.” From the outset, the intent was to turn the collection into a community resource — a spot where people could visit the Jazz Series' and either listen to selections and/or peruse literature on site, OR, upon becoming a member they would be able to check out titles on a weekly basis. The exciting news is this is coming to fruition!

Currently, the Library, thanks to the University of Missouri's Library Science master's program, is undergoing a major catalog transition and development. Within the next six- to 12-months, the entire collection will be organized not simply alphabetically by artist or ensemble, but also by recording title, inclusion of every musician on every cut, release date, composer, arranger, etc. The Lending Library will be complete cross-referenced making it far easier for people to find what they seek. Further, in the coming year, the Jazz Series will invest in software that will allow members, via a secure username and password, to be able to visit the Lending Library catalog online so they will be able to see what's in the collection before they visit the Jazz Series.

This is a one-of-a-kind project — certainly in Columbia, mid-Missouri and perhaps the entire state and beyond: an all-jazz “Lending Library” that allows the entire community to take advantage of its contents.

As you might imagine, the “Lending Library” takes quite a bit of upkeep — everything from re-filing titles, to entering new data, to purchasing software, to keeping track of membership cards, to purchasing acquisitions, etc. All-in, the “Lending Library” is going to take some project-specific funds to maintain. But, how could it not be worth it?

Become A Member: It'S A Great Way To Support The Jazz Series

While anyone can come in and listen to selections on site, and we're happy to entertain such patrons, becoming a member is a great way to support the Jazz Series. Both Public and Student Memberships are available. In honor of the 20th Anniversary Season, and thanks to a gift from Premonition Records, this season we have created a Special Membership Level with a premium in honor of the Project's Namesake.

Special 20th Anniversary Memberships:

  • “Shelf Name Plate” Membership: $250+. Become a member at the $250 level or greater and “own” a Lending Library Shelf. Receive a Personalized Name Plate in yours or someone else’s honor AND receive a copy of Best of Von Freeman 2-CD/DVD Set. Additional Premium: same as Gold Member.
  • The “Vonskis” NEW Lending Library Membership: $150+. Receive a copy of Best of Von Freeman 2-CD/DVD Set. Additional Premium: same as Silver Member.
  • Annual Student Memberships: $25-$60

  • Half-Price Tickets to select concerts
  • Free T-Shirt
  • Check-out privileges on a weekly basis [$25 – 2 CDs; $60 – 2 items CDs OR LPs]
  • Priority Volunteer Opportunity for Jazz Series Concerts/Events
  • Invitations to select member-only events and receptions
  • Annual Public Memberships

  • Standard Member: $60 [Check out up to 2CDs per week]
  • Silver Member: $100 [Check out up to 3 items – CDs/LPs per week]
  • Gold Member: $250 per year [Check out up to 5 items per week. Receive TWO FREE CD titles from select CDs. Receive invites to select member-only events]
  • Platinum Member: $500 [Check out up to 10 CDs/LPs for up to TWO [2] weeks. Receive FOUR FREE CD titles from select CDs. Receive Invitations to member-only events. Receive advance notice of special concerts/events.
  • To become a Member and to find out more about the lending library, download this Brochure and Membership Form. Or just stop by the “We Always Swing”® Jazz Series offices at 21 N. Tenth St.


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    21 N. 10th St., Columbia, MO 65201 | Tickets: 573-449-3009 ext. 1

    The "We Always Swing”® Jazz Series is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation administered by “We Always Swing,” Inc.,