Music library looks ‘at music in many… areas’

By Carl Nadig

DeKalb | NIU’s Music Library delivers a hidden resource for discovering old and new music.

Cradled between the Visual Arts Building and the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, the Music Library is a part of NIU’s library system. The Music Library offers students a location to study amid a collection of music.

“I come here when I really need to get something done,” said Mike Rossi, senior French literature major. “I like to pick up some records when I’ve got the time … just for fun. They’ve got a good collection of old jazz records, and it’s more quiet than most other places.”

The music library diverse collection features books, albums, video cassettes and vinyls.

“The people who know the Music Library exists and [know] that it’s here,” said library specialist Sherry Patterson. “Either retirees or community members … they find out about the library and they come here.”

Ranging from 17th century Italian opera to ragtime, northwest rock, Jewish folk, blues and French love songs, the library’s official website,, features more than 40,000 books and recordings in its collection.

Books include older subjects like English translations of Beethoven’s letters and studies about scores used for Shakespearean tragedies. Also included in the music library are contemporary subjects like biographies about Sonic Youth, the Fleshtones and Radiohead, and a film collection that includes actor Richard Burton’s portrayal of Richard Wagner in the movie “Wagner.”

“We look at music in many different areas,” said catalog librarian Elizabeth Cribbs. “So, history involving music, from psychology involving music, pedagogy involving music, dance, theater, art — lot of those things come in and affect those qualities a lot. And so we hold a lot of music materials here.”