Collection Policy -- Music


This policy outlines the written guidelines for the continued growth and maintenance of Middlebury College's music collection and is a supplement to the Middlebury College Library Collection Development Policy. By articulating the collection goals and policies, this document helps to ensure that the music collection supports the needs of the College community. The policy acknowledges the music collection's distinct roles in:

  • Supporting the teaching, learning, and research objectives of the Music Department
  • Providing campus-wide resources for music in cultural context within and across other academic disciplines
  • Supporting productions in related arts departments (especially the Theater and Dance Departments)
  • Providing listening pleasure for the College community


  • To acquire all library materials necessary for instructional and research purposes in the teaching of Western art music, jazz, musical theater, traditional, popular and world music at the undergraduate level.
  • To develop a strong reference collection designed to assist individuals in locating materials necessary for their research and information needs and to prepare students who may continue with graduate work in music.
  • To develop a collection of performance materials for all vocal ranges and for each instrument of the orchestra with an emphasis on chamber works, piano music, and musical theater, excluding collections of parts for large ensembles.
  • To develop a music collection in various formats that fulfills human needs for artistic expression and recreation including a representation of popular music (including jazz, blues, "world music," etc.).
  • To acquire music materials that will enhance the study of foreign languages and cultures represented in the Middlebury College curriculum.

Types and formats of materials collected generally

  • Significant books on music aimed at the educated layperson and undergraduates, including biographies, criticism, interviews, and histories of music. 
  • Significant contributions to the music reference literature, including thematic indexes, bibliographies, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. 
  • Periodicals on music history, theory, musical genres, and music performance, preferably in online format. The Serials Review Committee, following the guidelines of the Library collection development policy with regard to periodicals, will review recommendations made by the Music Department faculty and the Library Liaison to the Music Dept. in approving titles for the collection.
  • Study-sized orchestral scores, piano-vocal opera and musical scores, chamber music scores and parts for up to nine players; significant variant editions of standard repertoire; major art song repertoire in all available voice ranges. Urtext editions and other editions reflecting current scholarship are strongly preferred.
  • Sound recordings on compact disc or online of Western art music, jazz, musical theatre and popular music, world music (especially recordings in languages taught by Middlebury), including recordings for recreational use by the College community. Older formats such as LPs, cassettes, and 78s are not collected.
  • Video recordings, principally DVDs or online video streaming (if a viable option), of significant performances, particularly of opera, musicals and other works with a strong visual component; feature films with substantial music content or focusing on key eras, styles, or performers in music history; documentaries of especial significance.
  • For musical works new to the collection, the library will attempt to purchase both scores and recordings; for dramatic or multi-media works, the library will also attempt to purchase video recordings.
  • Locally produced sound recordings of music, theatre, and dance, featuring Middlebury College students, staff, and faculty.
  • Materials on dance as selected by the Library Liaison to the Dance Department.

Types of materials collected selectively

  • Monographic studies of composers' works, theoretical studies, music pedagogy and instruction, discographies, textbooks, workbooks, dissertations and theses, Festschriften, conference proceedings, anthologies of essays by multiple authors, foreign-language periodicals
  • Methods and studies for applied performance pedagogy for all instruments and musical genres taught by the Music Department.
  • Scholarly reference sets (i.e. monuments)
  • Full-size orchestral scores, full (i.e. not piano-vocal) opera and musical scores
  • Scores of solo vocal commercial works; score manuscript facsimiles, rare materials, early editions and numbered editions, fakebooks, popular song folios.
  • Sound recordings of variant performances of important works, reflecting artistically significant performances and a diversity of performance styles; anthologies for music appreciation.
  • Video recordings of documentaries and pedagogical material; concert films (especially classical repertoire)

Types of materials not collected (unless required for specific curricular needs)

  • Abstruse scholarly works intended for specialists.
  • Multiple copies of items (unless required due to high use)
  • Foreign-language dissertations
  • Pamphlets and ephemera
  • Single or discrete issues of periodicals
  • Parts for orchestra, band or jazz band
  • Sheet music
  • Multiple copies of choral works for choral performance
  • Multiple scores for in-class analysis of works
  • Arrangements by other than the original composer in score for other than the original instrument
  • Microforms

De-selection and withdrawal

The library follows the guidelines in the Library Collection Development Policy for de-selection and withdrawal of materials.


The Library may accept gifts of music materials that adhere to the guidelines in this policy. All music materials will be accepted with the understanding that the College becomes the owner of the materials and reserves the right to determine the retention, location, and disposition. See the Library Gift Policy for further details.

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