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Music Library

in the music library
Among the largest music collections in the U.S., the Northwestern University Music Library has an unmatched strength in 20th century and contemporary classical music, and holds at least one copy of nearly every new score published since 1945. Its more than 300,000 volumes of books, scores, sound recordings, and journals also include collections of original manuscripts and correspondence, notably, the John Cage collection, which documents the life and work of the 20th century’s most revolutionary composer.

News and Announcements

Scores on the Move: Shifting Materials to Make Room for Scores

This summer we shifted collections to allow more space for our score collection. Bound periodicals have been relocated to Oak Grove Library Center, which is our high-density storage facility. Many back issues of periodicals are available online, but should you need to consult the physical copy, you can request the necessary volume through NUsearch and check it out at the main circulation desk in University Library. You will be notified via email when it's available for pickup.

Music scores beginning with the M5’s, and going up to M271. F7, have been moved out of the Score Stacks and onto the shelves formerly occupied by bound periodicals. This means our shelves are no longer full to bursting! This allows us not only to continue to grow our collection, but also allows for easier access to the scores. If you have any questions about these moves, or need assistance locating an item, please see us at the Music Desk or email us at

Annual John Cage Research Grant recipients chosen

Northwestern University Libraries is pleased to announce the recipients of the John Cage Research Grant for 2017-2018. This annual competitive grant, established in 2013, promotes the study of John Cage's life, music, art, and ideas through the use of Northwestern's John Cage Collection. Over the coming year, the grant will support projects by John Michael Green and Haema Sivanesan. Read the full story.

Listening Center Services Announcement

We regret to announce that the Music Library will not be able to fulfill requests to listen to or transfer open reel audio recordings until further notice. We are very sorry for any inconveniences and hope to resume this service sometime in the future. Please contact the Curator of the Music Library if you have any questions.