Music Libraries – do you still shush people?

A topical post as I am going to be attending the conference of the professional association for music libraries, IAML (UK & Irl) this weekend.

What is a music library and do you still have to shush people? The short answer is yes, yes we do still have to shush people! I remember telling the pupils at my previous job in a school library that I was leaving to work in a music library. The conversation went something like this:

‘I’ve gotten a job in a music library.’

‘What’s a music library?’ ‘What’s that?”Does it still have books?’ [They all tended to speak at once.]

‘It’s like this library only with music and CDs and stuff.’

‘Ohhhhh.”Oh right.”Ok.’


A pretty cool school library ‘The Unquiet Library’. Image Credit: CVHS Students Gather @ The Unquiet Library for the Roots Music Club Meeting, November 2011, Flickr CC.

So that in a nutshell is what a music library is, a specialist library (in the literacy, information, empowering people sense of the word) with music-related resources both physical and digital. My music library, being in an educational environment, is entirely focussed on supporting and facilitating teaching, learning and research. This could look like digital skills tutorials for students or getting in an orchestral set for a Stravinsky symphony a College ensemble is performing. We also provide a quiet study environment and PCs (hence the shushing) amongst many other things!

BBC Radio recently featured some music libraries in its ‘Music Celebrates’ broadcasts, notably the British Library Sound Archive and Manchester Central Library’s Henry Watson Music Library.

Some Leeds College of Music Library social media for you to follow:

Twitter @LeedsMusicLib

Facebook – Leeds College of Music Library

Pinterest – LeedsMusicLib


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