University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries

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Library of the Month—Mills Music Library

The Mills Music Library houses a unique collection of music scores, recorded music, periodicals, microfilm, and of course, books on a variety of topics related to music and the arts. Conveniently located in the basement of Memorial Library, Mills welcomes not only music majors but music lovers of all disciplines!

Although Mills Music Library officially became a part of the General University Libraries in 1948, campus records mentioning a music library at UW-Madison date back to 1900. The library grew tremendously since the late 1970s and is now made up of over 250,000 volumes in addition to another 250,000 items in its special collection.

Come take a listen to the variety of music Mills has to offer! They feature music types in multiple languages from Hungarian to Nordic languages to Tibetan. Inside Mills is an audio facility available to aid in your listening pleasure—complete with playback equipment for LPs, CDs, DVDs, audio-and video-cassettes. You can even check out the CDs and other recorded media to enjoy at home.

Mills contains an eclectic assortment of exhibits and collections from the amusing to the downright odd. An exhibit features Hawaiian music from the Mills collection (formats include 78s, 45s, LPs, CDs, cassettes, and DVDs), complete with Hawaiian images, leis, and a ukulele owned by the Music Public Services Librarian, Tom Caw. Exhibits on topics like circuses and Ugly Christmas LP covers are changed monthly in the Audio Facility (in January, take a look at the collection of LPs of music by Jean-Baptiste Lully, in commemoration of the infamous incident in which he smashed his toe with a long staff while conducting on January 8, 1687. He died two months later of gangrene). And if you’ve ever found yourself wondering what “balloon music” is, you’ll have to visit the Mills Music Library to find out! They have a CD devoted to this mysterious genre by Judy Dunaway.

One of the ongoing projects for Mills is a digitization project that includes sheet music, discographies, and music manuscripts.You can check out examples in the Digital Collections, including Civil War Bandbooks, Wisconsin Folksongs, and more!  Another unique aspect of the Mills Music Library is that it houses the Wisconsin Music Archives, which contains several historical collections.

Who are your friendly music library staff on campus? Matthew Appleby, Jeanette Casey, (Head of Mills Music Library), Tom Caw, John Solon, and Ron Wiecki.

Don’t be shy—stop on by the Mills Music Library to see what the buzz is about! Their hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am to 9:00 pm, Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Note: some hours may be different during the winter interim. Double check today’s hours here.

For more information about the Mills Music Library, please visit: http://music.library.wisc.edu/

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