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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 available to Yale students (including undergraduates), faculty, and staff, and to researchers from around the world.

We’re 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

You can request special collections directly from the catalogs where you look them up. When you’ve found the item you want in Orbis or Quicksearch, just click the link that says “Request for Use in Music Library.” In Archives at Yale, just identify the box you want, and then click the  “Request” link. You can request up to five items per day of research.

If you’ve done special collections research at Yale recently, you already have an account in our system (called Aeon). If you don’t, you’ll be prompted to fill out the online registration form and agree to the terms and conditions. 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 at the library, we’ll 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 can use your Aeon account to see your past requests as well as manage current ones.

Some of our archival collections have not yet been fully processed, so they don’t appear in the Finding Aid Database. To request boxes from these collections, please contact us by email at You’ll still need to register in Aeon, if you haven’t done so already.

Most of our special collections are stored in an off-site shelving facility, so it's very important to make an appointment with us in advance. (Some Yale libraries are able to help walk-ins, but if you arrive unannounced at the Music Library, you probably won't be able to see the materials that day.) You'll 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's picture
Richard Boursy
Gilmore Music Library
Sterling Memorial Library
120 High Street
P.O. Box 208240