Five Things to Know about the Cooper Smith Music Library Collection

Five Things to Know about the Cooper Smith Music Library Collection

How a Little Library is Making Big Notes in the Greater Victoria School District

CSMLC volunteers, Rockheights Middle School staff, and music teachers across the district gathered to celebrate the retirement of CSMLC Clerk, Hazel Cameron on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.


1. What is the Cooper Smith Music Library Collection and where is it located?

The Cooper Smith Music Library Collection (CSMLC) was founded by Elieen Cooper and Bonnie Smith who had a vision of maintaining the Greater Victoria School District’s music resources while upkeeping them in a way that was useful for music teachers.

The Library was formed in 2016 and has grown to a collection of choral music at all levels, string orchestra music at all levels, and about 450 string instruments for rental at a nominal fee. All items within the library have been donated or purchased with funds donated to the District specifically to support the collection.

On May 15, 2024, the CSMLC celebrated their fifth anniversary of transitioning from their location at SJ Burnside to their current space at Rockheights Middle School. The choral stacks are in the A wing, and the string instrument collection and administrative office is in the annex under the B wing of the school.


2. Who are the people behind the CSMLC?

The day-to-day operation of the CSMLC is managed by 3 groups of people working together:

  • CSMLC School Library Clerk is responsible for circulating materials, managing inventory, adding new acquisitions to the catalogue of music and instruments, sending instruments for repairs, managing rental records, and for completing purchase requests made by Designated Music Teachers.
  • Designated Music Teachers and Community Choirs with CSMLC membership are responsible for the assessment of returns in a volunteer capacity and Designated Music Teacher Volunteers make all the musical decisions and manage the District School Trust Accounts. They instigate and authorize all spending (repairs, purchase of new instruments or music from donations given to the CSMLC) and then send the requests to District Staff to complete the financial transactions. They inspect all new purchases before passing them on to the CSMLC School Library Clerk for cataloguing (music or instruments). Designated Music Teachers also send Annual Statements of Choral Trust Accounts and Annual Statements of Orchestral Strings Music Accounts to each school within Greater Victoria School District 61 each fall.
  • All financial transactions are completed by Financial Services at the District level.

On May 28, 2024, the CSMLC celebrated the retirement of Hazel Cameron who has worked as the library’s Clerk for six years. The Greater Victoria School District thanks Hazel for her meticulous work to catalogue the collection and her dedication to providing music resources to students and staff.

“The CSMLC offered me a chance to learn something new,” says Hazel Cameron. “I’m not a musician, but I’m a librarian that likes to organize and digitize information. I had so much variety in this role and it was a pleasure to work with Bonnie, the many volunteers, and the teachers who go above and beyond for their students.”


Co-founder Bonnie Smith shows the carefully organized files of music within the library.


3. Why is the CSMLC important?

The CSMLC plays an important role for students, families, staff, and the maintenance and accessibility of music resources.

“I’ve heard a parent say that their child sings herself to sleep with the new music she’s learned,” says co-founder Bonnie Smith. “It’s so rewarding to hear that students are directly benefiting from our work in a way that is spreading joy, learning, and sparking creativity.”

The library serves as a resource hub for the district. Housing music and instruments in one location makes it easier to track the usage of materials, share resources between schools, as well as order repairs or replacements. The CSMLC staff play a large part in maintaining resources, ensuring they are in good condition and a fit for the students and staff using them.

“I was excited to learn to play the violin,” says a Grade 5 strings music student. “I like to listen to music, pop music, K-pop, all sorts of music. I just wanted to play music as well.”


4. How can staff access the collection and use the CSMLC database?

Staff are invited to browse the collection in person or online through the Destiny Catalog ( from any computer. If a teacher identifies something they would like to borrow from the online catalogue, they may email the CSMLC and it will be sent to their school through school mail. If one wishes for a larger number of items, the teacher should come into the library during open hours because cartage services are only available once a week. All instruments must be personally ordered and picked up by the person teaching strings at each school.


5. When is the CSMLC open to staff?

The CSMLC is open to staff nine hours every week and operates on the following schedule:

  • Spring (March to June) and Fall (September to November)
    • Tuesdays: 3:00pm to 6:00pm
    • Wednesdays: 8:00am to 2:30pm
  • Winter (December to February)
    • Tuesdays: 2:30pm to 5:30pm
    • Wednesdays: 8:30am to 3:00pm

Music teachers and volunteers of the CSMLC.

Make a Donation and Support Local Music Resources

You can support the CSMLC through the Victoria Foundation by visiting their website:



Cooper Smith Music Library Collection

Greater Victoria School District No. 61


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