Music Libraries: Centralization versus Decentralization

Lois Kuyper-Rushing


Branch libraries, in general, and music libraries, in particular, have struggled with the decision concerning centralization for more than a hundred years. Decentralized collections, those located in the music school or department, are favored by some because of their proximity to the classroom and the private lesson studio. However, proponents of a centralized location (where the collection is held in the main library facility) point out that the collection can be cared for more effectively if it is located in the main library. For this study, the Association of Research Libraries was surveyed concerning the location of their music libraries. Possible motivations for choosing one location or the other were explored, including degrees offered, size of the music collection, and overall budget of the music library.

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