Music Librarianship Degrees

School Program ALA Accredited?
Syracuse University Online MS in Library and Information Science
University of Denver Master of Library and Information Science
St. John's University Online M.S. in Library and Information Science

Training for music librarianship includes a broad education in both liberal arts and music. It requires at a minimum, a Bachelor of Library Science degree, substantial undergraduate work, and helps to have a humanities background. They must be familiar with how music relates to other disciplines.

Who is the music librarianship degree for?

A music librarian is qualified to specialize in music. It is essential to have a broad musical background for the music of any era, medium, or style. Training and aptitude in both librarianship and music are needed. Music librarians work with orchestras and bands, with music dealers and publishers in the branch library or music sections of conservatories, colleges, and universities, or large research libraries such as the New York Public Library or the Library of Congress.

Traditional responsibilities are the heart of music librarian activities. They organize, catalog, and maintain collections, provide instruction in using the library, answer reference inquiries, select microforms, recordings, journals, books, music, and sometimes manuscripts or other rare materials for acquisition.

Click to find online library science programs currently accepting applications.

Are There Online Music Librarianship Degree Programs?

Typically, students looking to study music librarianship degree find an Online Masters in Library and Information Science degree with a focus track in music librarianship.

Finding a music librarianship track

The program of study is designed for undergraduate and graduate students seeking a library science degree with a specialization in music librarianship that prepares them for careers as information specialists or music librarians. Students who pursue a Music Librarianship program take courses in the information and library science curriculum and enroll in a university's college of music.

Internships can be arranged for those who wish to increase their exposure to a specific aspect of music librarianship or lack practical working experience in a music library. Face-to-face programs, as well as distance learning opportunities that use various online instructional formats, are available.

Musical knowledge

Musical knowledge is a necessity for becoming a music librarian; however, a broader liberal arts education helps students place music with relevant cultural information. Music librarians need to see music in a broader context. Prospective music librarians need an understanding of social sciences, such as history. Undergraduates may seek opportunities to work as an intern or student worker in libraries. Master's degree program applicants should find programs that are ALA-accredited.

Top Music Librarianship Degrees

  • University of North Texas - UNT is a university that offers both face-to-face and online MS-LS in Music Librarianship. Their College of Music is among the most respected, comprehensive music schools in the U.S. It has the largest public university music program for jazz studies. The faculty is comprised of internationally acclaimed scholars and artists in performance, music entrepreneurship, music education, ethno-musicology, conducting, and composition.
  • Southern Connecticut State University - A music library internship can be arranged. Students may take as many as three music course credits and may transfer as many as nine credits for other programs that are ALA-accredited with approval. Opportunities for distance are available.
  • Kent State University - Students can enroll in a 150-hour supervised music library practicum to gain practical experience. As many as six graduate course credits can be taken towards the library degree. An online library science degree that can be earned entirely online is available.
  • University of Tennessee - A vital means of gaining professional, relevant work experience is the Practicum Program. Students apply classwork understanding of responsibilities and tasks to the workflow of a chosen information agency, under a seasoned professional's supervision. Six credits of graduate courses in music that are approved by the department can be taken. The entire program can be taken online. Live courses are offered in real-time, with instructor-student interaction through two-way audio capabilities.

Featured Online Library Programs

School Level Program
Syracuse University
Website
Master Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. No GRE required to apply.
University of Denver
Website
Master Master of Library and Information Science
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
St. John's University
Website
Master Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
University of West Alabama
Website
Doctorate Education Specialist: Library Media

What exactly is the music and literature librarianship program area?

Music and literature written about music are published in many languages and countries. Bibliographic research and cataloging require a working knowledge of a minimum of one Romance language and German. The majority of employers require a Master of Library and Information Science. Music librarians need knowledge of music repertory and history. Some positions are highly desired or require a second Master of Music degree. Librarians that specialize in non-Western music culture or folk music need training in archives management, ethno-musicology, and other languages. In libraries that have a combination of music and other subjects such as fine arts or dance, it may be expected to have a background in those subjects. Core competencies include:

  • Knowledge of music
  • Knowledge of copyright issues
  • Knowledge of collection development practices in music
  • Ability to manage and lead
  • Research support and instructional skills
  • Resource identification, organization, and maintenance skills
  • Access services skills
  • Technology
  • Knowledge of archival standards and practices

What music librarians do

Music librarians recommend ways to preserve and house materials in their custody. They use reference and electronic bibliographic resources to their full potential. In addition to typical responsibilities, music librarians reflect their personal interests and that of the institution's nature where they are employed. They may plan concerts and exhibits and collaborate with other institutions to organize classes, lectures, or other public programs. In a university school of music or conservatory, librarians rent or order music needed by chamber groups, opera workshops, bands, orchestras, and performing ensembles.

Typical Coursework for this Degree

Special Topics in Music Librarianship:

  • Cataloging
  • Instruction and reference in music libraries
  • Collection management
  • Music librarianship music collections

Humanities Information Sources and Services - A portion of the course covers performing arts and fine arts librarianship, including music.

Introduction to Music Research - In this course, students explore ways music may be researched. Different kinds of musical knowledge and the relationship that includes listening, composition, and performance are discussed. The students are introduced to methodologies and digital resources that inform music research. Exploring various resource types used to focus on music research, such as instruments, images, composer manuscripts, and diaries constitutes the core of the course.

Introduction to Ethnomusicology - The course charts genealogies of thought from the last centuries that inform contemporary ethno-musicology understanding. It provides a historical overview that highlights many works and figures that make the history of the discipline and lead to shifts in how ethno-musicologists understand the relationship between culture, society, and music. What an ethnologist does is explored by studying various approaches to ethnographic representations and fieldwork methods. Several theoretical orientations that draw from philosophy, media studies, performance theory, linguistics, and anthropology are studied. They inform the work of present and past ethnologists and introduce a spectrum of musical practices, styles, and ways different parts of the world think about music by studying select musical ethno-graphies.

Music Cataloging - This course is a detailed examination of controlling music materials biographics, such as video recordings, sound recordings, and scores and their inherent characteristics. Specific application problems of standard methods for classification of music materials, subject analysis, authority control, and descriptive cataloging are addressed. Requirements for effective retrieval of music materials and the structure of music catalogs are discussed.

Specific Scholarships

The Music Library Association has a MLA Diversity Scholarship funded by MLA members. It offers under-represented group candidates an opportunity to pursue a Master of Library and Information Science with financial support. Recruitment of under-represented ethnic and racial groups to music librarianship is the goal of this scholarship. It provides support for Master-level LIS education. Eligible students have applied or are enrolled in an MLIS program with a career interest in music courses, certificate, or concentration that is ALA-accredited. The winner receives

  • A tuition stipend
  • Career guidance
  • Free one-year student MLA membership
  • Free MLA annual conference registration
  • Committee recommendation for the Kevin Freeman Travel Grant for travel support to an annual MLA meeting

Brooks McNamara Librarian Scholarship – This $500 scholarship is presented each year by the Theatre Library Association to promising individuals with interest in performing arts librarianship. Eligible candidates show outstanding performing arts libraries accomplishments while enrolled in an MLS degree or an archival training program in the U.S.

Top Organizations to Know

Music Library Association – Founded in 1931, the Association promotes the establishment, use, and growth of music libraries. The MLA Newsletter and a quarterly journal, Notes, contain reviews of software, books, and music, bibliographies, and articles. MLA holds a convention either late in winter or early in spring. Twelve regional chapters meet regularly.

Major Orchestra Librarians Association – The mission of MOLA is to educate and facilitate communication between performance librarian professionals. The Association assists these librarians in providing service to their organizations. It provides resources and support to the performing arts and works to achieve the highest standard in publishing performance materials.

Career Options with this Degree

A commitment to music draws individuals interested in music librarianship. The ability to organize ideas and things, concern for detail and intellectual curiosity are essential to become an established practitioner and enjoy it. A music librarianship career is financially stable. Many music librarians find a part-time second performing career to be compatible.

Most work with the public in a full-time public service position or a part-time responsibility that is shared with other workers. Those in technical services, such as acquisitions and cataloging, may work behind the scenes. Music librarianship offers a wide range of supervisory and administrative positions. Some small music collections are operated by one professional and support staff. Large public and academic libraries have positions as assistants and department heads. Whatever the size, the music librarian may be responsible for collection management, facilities, personnel, and budget responsibilities.