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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Savvy Researcher: Finding Music Materials

Learn how to effectively use the library's online catalog to find recordings and printed music at the Music and Performing Arts Library. Also looks at online tools that provide printed music and audio.

How to Find Items at the Music & Performing Arts Library: Understanding Call Numbers Tutorial

This tutorial was created in Fall 2020 by MPAL GA, David Floyd.

Locating an Item

Once you find something in the results list that looks promising, open the full record for the item and take a look. Is the book available in more than one library and is it on the shelf? Make sure to note this before you make the trip over to the library. 

screenshot of item with multiple locations

Where is it?

A Word About Call Numbers

The Music and Performing Arts Library uses both the Dewey Decimal Classification system and the Library of Congress Classification system for our call numbers. New items get LC numbers (GV: dance; M, ML, MT: music; PL, PN, etc: theatre) while older items have Dewey numbers. This means you may need to look in more than one place for items on your topic. The exception is the reference collection--all reference books and scores have LC numbers.

For more information about reading LC call numbers, see this guide.

Locations within the Music and Performing Arts Library

Location: Music & Performing Arts Library  Stacks

  • Books: First floor
  • Scores and Miniature Scores: Second floor
  • Scores with "F." preceding the call number: Oversized materials, second floor along the wall
  • Items with "Q." preceding the call number: Ignore the Q, these are interfiled with other items

Location: Music & Performing Arts Library  Media Collection

  • CDs, DVDs, etc.: Take the call number to the first floor service desk and someone will retrieve the item for you

Location: Music & Performing Arts Library  Plays Collection

  • Play scripts: First floor in the computer area, arranged alphabetically by author last name and then title

Location: Music & Performing Arts Library  Reference Non-circulating

  • Books and scores (M1s-M3s): First floor across from the stairs

Location: Music & Performing Arts Library  Periodicals 

  • Journals: First floor by the reading room

Location: Music & Performing Arts Library  Special Collection

  • Books, scores, LPs, microfilms, other materials: Take the call number to the first floor service desk and someone will retrieve the item for you

Other locations

Several other libraries on campus have materials relating to music, dance, or theatre. There are materials in the Main Stacks and several of the departmental libaries (e.g., the Main Library may have materials relating to music business, the Literatures and Languages Library has materials relating to theatre, the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library will have materials relating to education and kinesiology (dance)). In addition, many older, less-used items are in our off-site location (Location: Oak Street Facility [request only]) and many films are located in the Undergraduate Library (Location: Undergraduate Media Collection).

The Sousa Archives & Center for American Music and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library also have significant (non-circulating) music holdings.