Music Library

History of the Music Library

From "The New Music Library", UCLA Librarian (9/3), March 23, 1956.

The Music Library had its beginnings in 1942, and its first home was in the transverse east-west corridor on the ground floor of the [Powell] Library Building.

The corridor was blocked off to create what came to be known as the "longest" library on campus. When the Federal Music Project was disbanded, the large orchestral and operatic library that had been assembled, and in part copied, as part of the federal program was deposited with UCLA through the efforts of Professor Gustave O. Arlt. Leon Strashun, who had been in charge of the music copying project, joined the Library staff as curator of the Music Library and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1946.

....In 1947 Ruth Doxsee became music librarian, and maintained the library in its same corridor quarters until 1950. With the opening of the east wing, the passage was needed for its original purpose, and the library moved to room 10 at the south end of the west wing. There the collection was expanded to include all of the score material in the library and the more important musicological works and the foreign periodicals in music....


The Music Library: April 1950-March 1957, by Ruth Doxsee (UCLA's first Music Librarian).

The Music Library was originally a part of the Department of Special Collections, in the Main Library of the University [then housed in what is today the Powell Library Building]. Prior to April 1950 the library's collection was limited to some eight thousand sets of orchestral and choral music and a small record library, which had been assembled by the Federal Music Project and then presented to UCLA as a gift when the Works Progress Administration program was discontinued. The Music Library's service was at that time restricted to loaning music for performance only to musical organizations.

In April, 1950 the Music Library was moved to a larger room in the southwest corner of the Main Library basement, where steel shelving was provided to accommodate the Main Library's score collection. There were two reading tables seating sixteen students and a listening room equipped with a hi-fidelity record player for concert use and a small player with earphones for student use.

All music scores - about three thousand - were immediately transferred from the Main Library stack to the Music Library and were available on open shelves for student use. Later, some 450 volumes of music periodicals and music literature of particular importance to graduate students and faculty members were transferred from the main stack and, together with historical music collections and composers complete works, were shelved as a separate non-circulating collection.

In spite of the small size of the Music Library, the use of the collection and of the records increased steadily. In 1950-51 our statistics show the loan of 3,290 scores and 2,900 records (for use in the listening room). In 1954-55, the last fiscal year spent in the "old" library, ten thousand scores were borrowed and twenty-three thousand persons used the library - for record listening, study, and reference.

In July, 1955 the Music Library was given branch library status and a Music Department Library Committee was appointed. The transfer of music literature from the main stack was begun, and by June 30, 1956, 3,500 volumes had been added to the Music Library collection.

The library moved to its new quarters in the Music Building on February 22, 1956.

The present [1957] Music Library has a seating capacity of seventy-two persons and contains ten individual listening rooms, nine of them equipped with turntables and speakers and two of them large enough to accommodate small groups of students. There is also a seminar room, which is used as a reading room for graduate students. Two floors of steel stacks provide shelving for about twenty-three thousand volumes, and shelving behind the circulation desk will care for a total of twenty-five thousand records.

Following the library's move the service was immediately broadened and increased, and the Library hours were extended to permit evening and Saturday use of the collection.

With the transfer of the Music Department's records collection of ten thousand discs, which is shelved in a closed stack and circulated from the library desk, we assumed a new service of considerable magnitude and importance.

The Music Library's collection was increased by the further transfer of sets of music encyclopedias and catalogs of music libraries and collections, which were formerly shelved in the Main Library Reading Room, and the transfer of currently received periodicals - some ninety-four titles.

The seminar room, adjacent to the library, contains the larger part of the non-circulating collection of approximately one thousand titles comprising historical collections, complete works, musicological treatises, bibliographies, and bound periodicals and is used as a reference room by graduate students and faculty members.

Music Library service to students and faculty as judged by circulation statistics of books, scores, and records loaned and an estimate of the number of persons using the library for study has tripled since March 1956. The monthly average of persons served has increased from two thousand to six thousand. The collection has been increased by transfer, gift, and purchase from the June 1955 total of 15,327 scores, 706 books, and 2,994 records to the present total of 17,390 scores, 5,423 books, 13,200 records, and 104 current periodicals.