About the Music Library

Mission & Vision

Mission Statement: “To support the teaching, performance and research activities of the Music Department faculty and students”


Vision: We will provide the SUNY Stony Brook Music Department and University Community with:


  • the highest standards of music collections and services
  • the latest and most pertinent use of available technology
  • timely, informed and intuitive responses to the diverse programs and specializations of the Music Dept.’s faculty and students
  • open lines of communication with our patrons and the Music Dept.’s Library Committee
  • superior cataloging of our collections
  • excellent reference service and bibliographic instruction, helping patrons to attain their goals of acquiring the most useful materials and becoming capable, independent researchers.
  • solid knowledge of and cooperation with other institutions, so that patron access to services and collections extends beyond our doors.

Fact Sheet

Our Facility

  • 11,285 square feet on first floor of the Melville Library, northwest wing.  Seating for 170
  • Occupied January 2001; Dedicated Nov. 2001 Architect:  Beatty, Harvey and Associates, of Hauppauge and Manhattan, NY


  • Open stacks for non-circulating reference books, complete works editions and bound journal issues; closed stack LP cabinets; and circulating books and scores
  • Quiet Study Area with 11 70”x48’’ tables and 6 chairs e
  • Periodicals Area with current issues on display and lounge seating for 7
  • Listening Area includes 52 study carrels, each equipped with a CD/cassette player and an amplifier with jacks for 4 simultaneous listeners
  • Fourteen carrels have Mac Mini computers loaded with iTunes software

Circulation Desk 

  • accommodates circulation transactions and reference inquiries; houses closed stacks for in-house circulating CDs, VHS tapes and DVDs

Seminar Room

  • Used exclusively by Music Dept. for classes, seminars, Composer’s Forums, dissertation defenses and colloquia
  • Baldwin piano, whiteboard and score-lined chalkboard
  • Equipped with an LCD projector, Mac Mini computer, jack for connection to PCs, LP turntable, laserdisc player, VCR, CD and DVD players
  • Home of the Music Library Cage Collection, which consists of manuscript facsimiles, and other first and limited editions of value.

Public Equipment

  • Public terminals = 5
  • CD/cassette players = 52
  • LP turntables = 2
  • VHS/DVD players = 4
  • Microfilm/fiche Reader/Printer = 1

History & Overview

The Stony Brook University Music Library has a 35-year history.  In its earliest days, the Music Library existed as a small collection of music scores, books and periodicals that were housed in the stacks of the Main Library.  In 1966, a listening facility, utilizing second-hand language lab equipment, was installed on the first floor, and was then moved in 1972 to the southwest wing of the 2nd floor.  In the summer of 1974, under the direction of the newly hired Music Librarian, Judy Kaufman, the listening facility was expanded to serve as a full Music Library.  A brand new Audio Center was installed in February 1978, and in April of that year, the old listening center was removed, and a reading room established in its place.  Over the years, the Music Library’s collections and services have expanded to accommodate the cultural diversity of its users and advances in audio and computer technology.


The principal goals of the 2001 move and renovation were to upgrade the physical condition of the facility and to situate the Music Library on the first floor with Melville Library’s other public service operations.  The Reading Area includes reference materials, a Periodicals area and a sunny, comfortable study space that includes jacks along the walls for Internet access.  The stacks area accommodates circulating books and scores.  Fifty carrels have been installed in the Music Library’s Listening Area.  There is a brand new Circulation Desk, and behind the desk, a new Audio Dubbing Room is equipped to provide sound distribution among the carrels.  The Seminar Room holds a conference table, audiovisual equipment, and a piano, and this is where music classes, dissertation defenses and colloquia are regularly held.  In celebration of the move, a ceremony and ribbon-cutting was held on November 28, 2001, which featured premieres of four brass quintet fanfares by graduate students in the Music Department’s composition program.


Today the Music Library’s collections cover a vast array of sectors in the field of music.  Our printed scores collection focuses on solo and chamber music, as well as full study scores for larger works.  Books and journals in the Music Library cover the fields of music performance, history, theory, composition and pedagogy.  The Library owns a growing collection of music manuscript facsimiles, which are available in limited editions only and are irreplaceable.  These facsimiles allow researchers to view musical works in their original format and condition.  Our audiovisual collection includes LPs, compact discs, DVDs, VHS tapes, microforms and CD-ROMs.


The Music Library supports the Music Department’s Pre-College Chamber Music and Adult Amateur Chamber Music Programs.  These Music Department events attract talented musicians from the community, and participants visit the Music Library frequently.   Our collections and services extend throughout the university and beyond.  We enjoy a strong inter-library loan relationship with many academic and public libraries.  Music teachers and members of local performance groups also come to the Music Library to consult the collections and listen to recordings.  Directors of two prestigious performance organizations, the Ridotto Ensemble of Huntington and Long Island Baroque, are regular visitors of the Music Library and enthusiastic fans of our collections.


The Music Library is visited daily by students who need to check out printed materials or to complete course listening assignments which are placed on reserve.  Course reserve listening assignments have been made available online by Library staff members.  In this way, students registered for a particular music course can complete a listening assignment in the Music Library Listening area, or from the Music Department’s SINC site.


The Music Library is a depository for recordings of Music Department recitals, concerts and other musical events.  This unique subset of the audio collection consists of recordings taped live from the Staller Center’s Recital Hall and Main Stage.  They feature performances by the Stony Brook Symphony, Camerata, Chamber Singers, Contemporary Chamber Players, University Chorale and Collegium Musicum.  Events featured on these recordings include Baroque Sundays at Three, the Bach Aria Institute and Festival, the Stony Brook Composers Series, and Opera Workshops.  These reels include original compositions, as well as performances by Stony Brook faculty and students who continue to make great achievements in the field of music.


The Music Library’s reel-to-reel recordings, which date from 1979 to 1996 are among its most personalized and historically revealing collections.  A project to preserve these fragile recordings began in 2001 with the assistance of a professional audio preservation agency.  The goal is to eventually provide access to these valuable performances, so that their content can be studied and enjoyed by present and future generations of listeners.


Bibliographic instruction is an ongoing mission for the Music Library.  The first three sessions of a graduate seminar on basic research skills are devoted to using the Library’s collections and resources.  Orientations and tours of the Music Library are provided to music classes and other groups as staff resources allow.


Development of the Music Library’s collections will continue in support of the research, courses and programs of the Music Department.    In addition to traditional print sources, the acquisition of compact, conveniently accessible formats such as microform and digital technology allow for the growth of the Music Library’s collections within a limited space.  The positive and productive rapport between the Music Department faculty and the Music Library staff has resulted in a successful integration of performance and scholarship materials, thereby making this a superior academic music library.  The Music Library’s activities would be greatly enhanced by community awareness and financial support.  If you are interested in underwriting a particular acquisition, project or event, please contact the Melville Library Director’s Office at 631-632-7100.  The variety and potential of the Music Library’s resources will certainly present many interesting opportunities and challenges for patrons in the years to come.

art of the violin performance