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Anonymous
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Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new
      #1000605 - 30/07/12 03:19 PM
Hello. I'd like to record in an (empty) public library and perhaps other public spaces too. Obviously, this would need to be done during periods when they are officially closed. Has anyone else requested permission or managed to gain access? If so, what is the correct procedure? At first, this is merely about getting access as I'll only be using a handheld recorder, with only a small rucksack of equipment and instruments.

Thanks


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5918
Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new [Re: ]
      #1000630 - 30/07/12 05:20 PM
Considering your location, I don't think many of us here will have useful opinions :-)

Is it too obvious to suggest you ASK at the library?


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Anonymous
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Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1000715 - 31/07/12 12:11 AM
I'm talking about UK public buildings. I've found it's better to ask for advice on how to approach things first.

(For example, if I ask at the library, someone says no, then I ask someone above them, they say yes, I may have to then deal with the person who said no, and they can be arsey about being overruled.)


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Mike Stranks
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Joined: 03/01/03
Posts: 3944
Loc: Oxford, UK
Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new [Re: ]
      #1000743 - 31/07/12 06:50 AM
Hi Josif

So are you NOT based in "Athens, Greece"? If you aren't based there, it would be a good idea to change your details so that they reflect a more-accurate picture. Many posters will look at those details - as Wombat has done - and modify their answer in the light of the poster's location.

Thanks.

Mike
Forum Mod Team


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5918
Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new [Re: ]
      #1000801 - 31/07/12 10:37 AM
Quote Josif A. Soterίou:

I'm talking about UK public buildings. I've found it's better to ask for advice on how to approach things first.

(For example, if I ask at the library, someone says no, then I ask someone above them, they say yes, I may have to then deal with the person who said no, and they can be arsey about being overruled.)




Well, a "no" from someone higher-up is going to be a bigger obstacle :-)

Does it have to be a library? Thinking of the libraries round here, some are quite compact, carpeted spaces with thoroughly uninteresting acoustics, one has a domed roof with all the acoustic problems that implies, one is a modern 3-storey open space with stairways and balconies (and not that many books any more - "library" now seems to mean "information centre"). When I want a large room to record in I generally borrow the local school hall - keeping their computers running earns me certain privileges. There's a useable piano there too.

Is this a "concept" thing that it must be a public building? Or are you just after a certain sort of acoustic?


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grab



Joined: 08/07/07
Posts: 2939
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new [Re: ]
      #1000879 - 31/07/12 01:15 PM
The problem will be finding times when they're closed to the public but still have staff. For obvious reasons, you can't just let people in, shut the doors, and say "drop the keys through the letterbox when you're done.

Librarians being people, the best plan would be to approach them when they're not rushed off their feet with real work. Catching them mid-afternoon would probably be a good bet. Have a nice chat with the person on the desk and get them onside, then do the same with her (it'll almost certainly be a her) superior. If it's playing "proper" pieces, you may even be able to offer them a little private performance after hours.


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Anonymous
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Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new [Re: Mike Stranks]
      #1000894 - 31/07/12 02:08 PM
Quote Mike Stranks:

Many posters will look at those details - as Wombat has done - and modify their answer in the light of the poster's location.




Sorry, I assumed that because this is a UK-based publication, it'd be taken that I meant UK. I'll remove my location then, I didn't actually notice it showed up next to the name there.

Quote Exalted Wombat:

Well, a "no" from someone higher-up is going to be a bigger obstacle




Well, if someone higher up says no, then I won't be able to do it.

Quote Exalted Wombat:

Does it have to be a library?




I was speaking more generally about public buildings really. People who make documentaries must get private access to these places somehow. I probably need to speak to a location manager really.

(I especially wanted to record in Manchester Central Library with it's amazing dome acoustics (a pretty daft design for a library though). It's officially 'closed' until 2014 for restoration work, but I don't know if they might let someone through for these kinds of things.)

Cheers


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Soulgreed



Joined: 16/09/04
Posts: 188
Loc: Airdrie/Glasgow
Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) [Re: ]
      #1001153 - 01/08/12 01:06 PM
I don't know about Libraries, but I asked about using a school in Glasgow a while back (successfully) and I'm pretty sure it was the Council I spoke to. Not sure if that applies to Libraries, or to the rest of the UK though; it's not unusual for Schools to get used out of hours for karate, music etc. up here.


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zenguitarAdministrator
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Joined: 05/12/02
Posts: 8971
Loc: Devon
Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new [Re: ]
      #1001270 - 02/08/12 02:28 AM
There are two approaches here, the formal one and the informal one. What makes it interesting is that this is an example where the best approach for one is also the best approach for the other!!

Somewhere in the Local Authority there is a person who's job it is to review requests like this and has the power to grant or deny access. To approach them formally you need to discover how to contact them, and that information lies somewhere in.... the Public Library You could go to a library and search for the Council Directory, or you could be smart and use the greatest resource in a library, the Librarians. Visit when it is quiet, and ask for help. Explain that you need to find out who you need to contact to get permission to record in a public building.

The informal approach involves... going to the Public Library and asking nicely if they know who is in charge of the closed library you want to use and whether it would be possible to arrange a meeting.

Whether you go the formal or informal route, the solution is the same. You need to approach someone politely and ask for help. And how successful you are depends on how lucky you are in picking who you ask, and how well you sell your idea to them and enthuse them to get you on your side. Get it wrong and you make the mountain a little harder to climb, but get it right and you'll be warmly welcomed into the cable car right to the top of the mountain.

And if a little anecdote helps... Over 20 years ago I had already completed a year of evening classes in guitar making. I had moved from London to Plymouth and was working as casual stage crew. Because the work was casual I had a an open claim to Unemployment Benefit, most weeks I earned too much to claim any benefits and declared that income in full, but when it was quiet I had an entitlement under the open claim rather than having to make a new application. I then was able to pay for a full time course at the Totnes School of Guitarmaking with Norman Reed, which was cool. However, I realised that I wouldn't be able to take all the work on offer and because I was unavailable for work my Unemployment Benefit claim would end as well. But then I realised that I had access to Adult Training so I made an application and was referred to the main local trainer. They couldn't pay for my course, their budget was £30 a week and the course was far more than that, so in desperation I called the other training provider. I explained that I had a course and could pay for it, but was worried because if I wasn't on a recognised course I would have no income for 3 months as that would make me unavailable for work.

The girl I spoke to asked me what course I was doing, maybe out of interest, maybe because she thought she might have had something similar to offer and could switch me to it and get an easy stat. So, I told her that I was going to train further in guitar making. She then told me that she was a MASSIVE Extreme fan and had a life sized poster of Nuno Bettencourt over her desk. We chatted for 10 minutes, I told her about his Washburn guitars and that I had crewed for Extreme when I was in London, and she said she had an idea and would call me back. 30 minutes later I got a call from her manager instead. This girl, who I never met, had so enthused her manager that she went to the head of department and together they managed to find a sub-clause in the regulations that would not only allow me to continue my claim but required them to pay me an extra £10 a week for travel expenses. And that's how I managed to get trained and have had over 20 years working on guitars.

OK, I got lucky with the girl who answered the phone. But the point is that I made the call, asked the question, and made the opportunity to enthuse someone on the inside to become an advocate for me. And as she was able to sell my story to her boss, there's a good chance that I could have got the same outcome even if someone else had answered the phone.

You want to know the 'correct procedure'? It's simple, go and ask and and make someone on the inside as enthusiastic as you are.

Andy

--------------------
When the going gets weird, the Weird turn Pro.


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Mixedup
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Joined: 03/09/03
Posts: 4857
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new [Re: zenguitar]
      #1005074 - 23/08/12 04:57 PM
Try the Local Authority's Estates Manager. That's the title I'd look for first. Write. Explain what you want to do. And you can reasonably expect to hear back within a month.

For NHS buildings, it would be the relevant NHS Trust, not the local authority or health authority or DH.

For central government buildings, it would be the Estates Manager of the relevant government department or agency. And for cross-governmental stuff, it would be the Cabinet Office.

...but personally, I'd just try asking someone at the counter who would be the best person to speak to


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Giscol



Joined: 02/10/05
Posts: 89
Loc: manchester, UK
Re: Access to Public Buildings (for acoustics) new [Re: Mixedup]
      #1005944 - 28/08/12 07:02 PM
Quote Mixedup:

Try the Local Authority's Estates Manager. That's the title I'd look for first. Write. Explain what you want to do. And you can reasonably expect to hear back within a month.


...but personally, I'd just try asking someone at the counter who would be the best person to speak to




^ This

I work in local government and this is good advice!

--------------------
Band Multiplier


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