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Find and Use Materials

Start your research by identifying the materials you need. Use NUsearch, our online catalog, to search the books, scores and recordings held in the Music Library and other NU libraries. (Note: While Northwestern University musical performances since 1995 can be located in NUsearch; earlier performances can be located by speaking with a staff member.)

Access materials

Once you have your item's call number, use our Locate Materials webpage to find its physical location, usually in the Music Library or elsewhere in Deering Library. 

A limited amount of printed music and music books are held in the Oak Grove Library Center (OGLC), as well as music master theses and PhD dissertations, and periodicals older than one year.  All phonodisc (LP) sound recordings are located in on-campus storage. 

Borrow materials

Many materials from the Music Library's collection can be borrowed according to the circulation policies that apply to other University Libraries' items. The Borrowing Materials section of our website can provide information on borrowing cards and loan limits. 

However, some items are limited to use in the library or are available to faculty and grad students only for an abbreviated lending period. Exceptions and restrictions are listed below.


Monument scores and collected editions (M2s and M3s)

Use of these materials vary by audience: students, staff and guests cannot check out these materials. Faculty can borrow them for up to three days.

Rare materials, manuscripts and special collections

Rare books, scores, archival and manuscript collections do not circulate and require special conditions for access and use. Please contact Music Library staff at: musiclibrary@northwestern.edu at least two business days prior to your proposed visit. Please do not make travel plans until your appointment has been confirmed. Learn more about accessing these items.

Sound recordings

The majority of the CD and LP collection is available to circulate to the Northwestern community and are currently administered by the Mitchell Multimedia Center and subject to their policies.

Archival recordings of Northwestern performances since 2006 are available to the Northwestern community via the AV Repository. You must sign in with your netID and password to access these recordings. For recordings prior to 2006, contact Greg MacAyeal, Music Library Curator at g-macayeal@northwestern.edu

Reproduce materials

Visitors to the Music Library can use:

Research assistance

We will assist you in locating materials for your research. Staff is available Mon - Fri 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Email musiclibrary@northwestern.edu to set up a research consultation. You may also drop in during the Music Librarian's office hours