Libraries: Gateway of Knowledge – Music in the Library

Boxed CD sets in the Media Collection, University of Illinois Music and Performing Arts Library
Source: University of Illinois Library via Wikimedia Commons

By Gabrielle Passick

We have discovered a majority of the Greatest Libraries of the Ancient World and three of the Greatest Librarians of Our History. Moving onto the 21st century, we will delve into something we all love…music.

Over the course of a year and a half, live music was taken away from us. Turning off the news, curling up with a good book, or sipping a cup of tea while listening to soothing music are the best ways to escape the pondering thoughts of uncertainty, fear, and frustration. I have always embraced libraries, especially now. Libraries have been a constant in my own life throughout many adversities. I am delighted to share with you this hidden musical oasis.

Libraries are home to CDs and DVDs. You might even find LPs or cassette tapes. There are a wide variety of genres available as part of library collections. Whether you are looking for The Beatles, Dizzy Gillespie, or Anton Bruckner, odds are your library has these materials waiting for you. Why invest in a costly streaming application or CD when you can borrow music from the library at no cost? Speaking of streaming apps, depending on your location, a subscription to Freegal Music or a similar program may be included with your library card.

Have you been waiting to see an opera? Do you live far from the ballet? Libraries are the answer! You may find the buried treasures of free opera streams, DVDs/CDs from the Royal Opera House, as well as from the Metropolitan Opera. Documentaries on your favorite singer are also found at the library.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument but never found the time? A library can help! Your local library may provide free music lessons. Sheet music is also another resource. Most sheet music books will include a CD of a backing track or instruction that will allow for you to be familiar with introductory concepts and sounds. If we take a look at the Spokane Public Library site, there are free music lessons offered for learners of all ages. The instruments are even provided to the patrons! Some libraries may even be affiliated with

Many libraries will host community performances featuring local artists. The New York Public Library offers close to 100,000 events each year. A piece of advice is to continue to check event calendars and library social media pages.

Another resource is the Petrucci Music Library. The International Music Score Library Project or Petrucci Music Library contains thousands of musical scores and audio files which are public domain property, meaning, you can use or download any of these files legally.

Support your local library and escape negativity for a while. As always, never hesitate to ask your fellow community librarian for help.