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Music Library Special Collections: Policies & Procedures

Finding and using archives, manuscripts, rare books and scores, and other special collections at the Music Library.


The library's special collections are open to Yale students (including undergraduates), faculty, and staff, and also to researchers from around the world.

We are open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 AM to 4:45 PM. We're closed for certain holidays and recess periods; for more information, see the library calendar

Most of our special collections are stored in an off-site shelving facility, so it's very important to  make arrangements with us in advance. (If you arrive unannounced, you probably won't be able to see the materials that day.) After you've identified what you need (with the help of Orbis or the Yale Finding Aid Database), just let us know what you'd like to see, and we'll have it delivered to the Music Library for your use. You can request up to five archival boxes or other items per day of research. It's a good idea to give us your list of requests at least two business days before your visit, so we can be sure that everything is ready for you.

Before you visit, please fill out the online registration form. If you're not affiliated with Yale, you'll need to click on the link in the confirmation E-mail within 24 hours. When you arrive, we will complete the registration process by taking your photograph and checking the number and expiration date on your ID. You will need either a current Yale ID or a current government-issued ID such as a driver's license or passport. Registration is good for a year, and enables you to do research at various Yale libraries.

You will do your research in our Rare Book Reading Room, which is part of the office suite upstairs in the Music Library. You may not bring coats, bags, pens, food, or drink into the Rare Book Reading Room.

You may take photographs of the materials, provided you do not use flash or disturb other researchers. You can request that we make scans, photocopies, or microfilm of special collections materials for you. (But if you want to publish material that's under copyright, it's up to you to get permission from whoever owns the copyright.) More information about our copy services (including prices) is available. You can make copy requests even if you are not able to visit the library in person.

A few of the Music Library's most important holdings are shelved across the street, at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. To study these items, please consult the Beinecke Library directly.

Subject Guide

Richard Boursy
Gilmore Music Library
Sterling Memorial Library
120 High Street
P.O. Box 208240