With close to 27,000 sound recordings and more than 60,000 volumes of music, books on music, periodicals, and microforms, the Library is unsurpassed among university collections in the northeast. The repository of the Eugene Ormandy and the Marion Anderson archives, it also houses a broad range of musical scores in both scholarly and performing editions. Its literature embraces music history and theory and is complemented by audio and video materials. Within the walls of the Albrecht Music Library, a student can read in depth about the history and composition of The Magic Flute, listen to a recording while following the score, and finally watch a finished performance of the opera on video.
Because of Penn's strong emphasis on cross-disciplinary study, a typical day at the Music Library might bring an undergraduate sociology major seeking information for a term paper on rap music; a graduate student in physics researching musical acoustics; or an anthropology faculty member inquiring about Balinese instruments in preparation for a lecture on Indonesian culture.
Although the Music Library is treasured and heavily used by the Penn community, it is a truly regional resource. In recent years, students and faculty have come from Drexel University, Temple University, West Chester State University, Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, Haverford College, Lehigh University, The Curtis Institute, The University of the Arts, Franklin and Marshall College, and the University of Delaware. High school students in the region also use the collections, as do independent scholars from all over the country. Like the rest of the Penn Library, the Music Library is open without charge to the public every weekday, a service that is almost unique among major university music libraries.
Clearly, a resource of such magnitude requires a leader of commensurate strength and versatility. The scholar who holds the position of Head Music Librarian must have one foot in the world of the arts and the other in the world of technology, have a command of foreign languages, be expert in the various fields of music, and possess superior judgement and managerial ability. Such people are rare, and competition for their services is keen throughout the nation.
Penn's music collection has grown selectively since 1937 to become one of the great music libraries of academia. The orchestration of such a collection is too important to be left, like a game of Musical Chairs, to chance. A fully-endowed chair for the Head Librarian of the Music Library will ensure the continued strength of this magnificent Penn resource.