In Photos: Symphonies Across Stacks at the Loeb Music Library

By Kacy Bao, Briana Howard Pagán, and Lotem L. Loeb
By Briana Howard Pagán

By Kacy Bao

Our overture to the vast collections of the Loeb Music Library is the Loeb Spalding Room: a beautiful study space open to all patrons of the library on its second floor. At midday, the sun shines through the delicate stained glass, painting its bookshelves in light.

Above the Spalding Room, the third floor of the Library houses a lively repertoire of pieces. Here, the books practically dance off the shelves.

As we continue through the library’s rows of storage, we are joined by the Richard F. French Librarian, Erin C. Conor. She guides us through the next chapter of our journey.

Throughout the library, we are surrounded by shining glass cases, displaying singular items and special exhibits such as Lauryn Hill’s sole record and famous archival tapes. Archival pieces like “Niurba ohuokhaia” can also be found gleaming behind the glass cases, welcoming visitors as they enter the Isham Memorial Library — a room housing the library’s rare and unique materials.

Handwritten conductor’s notes cover French composer Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique,” one of more than 65,000 scores and books in the library’s collections.

Beyond the glass cases and special exhibits exist hidden treasures. One of the library’s special collections, the Archive of World Music, houses pieces from all over the globe. A notable part of this collection is the Rubén Blades Archive, where the famous musician’s personal Royal typewriter and album posters reside, along with many other personal artifacts.

Peter S. Laurence, the Librarian for Recorded Sound and Media, invites us into his welcoming office deep into the first floor of the Library.

As Laurence explains, the Music Library is unique in its access to resources beyond books: shelves are stocked with a collection of records, CDs, and multimedia resources.

Conor guides us back through the Archive of World Music to the storage of various formats of sound media, available by request.

Our oeuvre comes to a close in the library’s extensive collection of Beethoven scores.

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