TME Podcast Season 4, Ep. 15: Music Education: Libraries, Archives and Museums

Description: In today's episode we will explore all the fascinating resources available to music educators from libraries, archives and museums. Today's special guest is Nicky Stevens.

Nicky Stevens

Nicky Stevens is an archivist at the Georgia Historical Society (GHS). Prior to joining GHS, she worked as an archivist in Atlanta where she was responsible for corporate, educational, and entertainment heritage collections. Before working in archives, Nicky was a reference librarian at a public library in Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film with a minor in History and has a masters degree in Library and Information Science with a focus in Archival Studies. When she is not spending her time in libraries and archives, Nicky enjoys reading, writing, immersing herself in top notch television programs and film, and discovering new and interesting places.

Twitter: @NickyNicholle


Libraries, Archives, & Museums

    • Materials on nearly infinite amount of topics - including music

    • Materials covering the most recent discoveries and theories to those of thousands of years in the past

    • Cover music genres and the stories behind them from our part of the world and across the oceans

    • The materials, exhibits, and programs help us discover and facilitate new ideas and strengthen our understanding of things with which we are already familiar.

    • Resources that support lesson plans

    • Help students and educators learn and grow

    • Budget-friendly resources to teach students

Public Libraries

    • Materials that can be checked out from the (physical) library

      • Biographies on musicians, composers, influential music figures for adults and children, music history, music appreciation, science of music, professional training and career development in music education, instruction manuals on instruments, sheet music on a range of styles, music recordings, documentaries, fictional material based on music

      • Books, magazines, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, blu-ray discs

      • Unique materials

      • If your library doesn’t have what you are looking for

        • Place a hold and have items sent from other libraries in your county (may be restrictions on certain materials)

      • Georgia has Pines system - order from partner libraries across the state - and have delivered to your home library for free

        • Statewide network of public library system serving Georgia (more than 300 public libraries, gives access to more than 11 million books and materials plus online materials)

      • Interlibrary Loan

        • May be able to do an interlibrary loan for a small fee. Can come from across the country

Creative Labs

      • More and more public libraries are creating spaces where patrons can practice their creative endeavors.

      • 3-D printers and pens, sewing machines...

      • Music Example: Recording Studios, Audio Software

        • Record yourself, create some tracks

      • Hands-on experience with tools that may otherwise be too expensive

    • Programs and Events

      • Live performances - students experience live music or maybe even participate in

        • Youth programs (Summer reading programs)

        • Adult programs with lecture

        • performance series (sometimes as a summer series, but happen other times)

        • Christmas piano performance

        • UK program: Get It Loud in Libraries (

          • Emerging and established musicians perform at public libraries

      • Other programs

    • Online resources

      • Same resources you can find on library shelves

      • Access them from a computer, phone, or ereader

      • Ebooks, e-audiobooks, digital magazines, and streaming music and video

      • Online databases

    • Ready resources found on library websites, internal and external resources

      • Lists of virtual resources available through the library or outside institutions

      • My local library lists its virtual programs, arts & culture resources, online music & performance resources, education and enrichment, and more.

      • I discovered “Virtual Field Trips” link to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (

        • Offers video performances, educational programs, and much more

        • Caught my eye - the ASO Masterclass Series with videos ranging from how to play a drum roll to exploring trombones to musician many ways to engage

      • Also found through the Ready Resources - Carnegie Hall Music Explorers, which provides lesson plans and resources “to teach your students about new musical genres and cultural traditions” (

      • Even if your library doesn’t have what you're looking for, it can lead you in the right direction.

K-12 & University Libraries

    • K-12

      • If you are at a school, talk to the school librarian.

      • There may be resources available in the school that can support your music program.

      • If not, the librarian may be able to help you find the kinds of resources you seek.

    • University Libraries

      • Consider looking into University libraries if you work at the university or if you are a member of the public.

      • University libraries are often open to the public for research and use of their resources (though there may be restrictions and fees).

      • University libraries often have excellent resources ranging from books, periodicals, sheet music, musical records, online collections, and databases.

      • Many university libraries focus on specific fields, such as music, and coexist with archives or special collections that house primary sources of great historical value.

Library of Congress…& other National Libraries

    • Don’t forget to consider national libraries when you are looking for music education resources.

    • The Library of Congress, which acts as the national library of the United States of America, has many resources available to the public.

    • Concerts

      • The Library of Congress offers concerts during which one can experience a variety of diverse music genres. (

      • While in the past many concerts were viewed in person, concerts and related conversations, lectures, and more are now available online, and they are free of charge.

      • Past performances can be viewed on the Library of Congress YouTube page. (

    • Digital Collections

      • The Library of Congress has numerous digital collections.

        • The National Jukebox contains over 10,000 historical sound recordings made between 1901 and 1925

        • These recordings “were issued on record labels now owned by Sony Music Entertainment” and are “available to the public free of charge.”

        • Compare different renditions of Amazing Grace by performers like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and the Pipes and Drums and Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

      • Other notable digital collections include 10th-16th Century Liturgical Chants, African-American Band Music & Recordings, Dolly Parton and the Roots of Country Music, Early American Sheet Music, and Great Conversation in Music, just to name a few.

    • Keep an Eye Out for Music Related Projects; Example: Citizen DJ (

      • Want to have a little fun with the Library’s audio collections?

      • Part of Library of Congress Labs, Citizen DJ is an interactive way to engage with the Library’s audio collections.

      • Developed by Brian Foo while he was an Innovator in Residence a the Library of Congress

      • Citizen DJ “invites the public to make hip hop music using the Library’s public audio and moving image collections”

      • Invite students to try remixing while exploring different kinds of music

  • Talk to Your Librarian

      • Want something added to the collection? Talk to a librarian. You can make suggestions.

      • Call, email, text, live chat, AskALibrarian, contact forms online, in person


    • History and development of music, instruments, and the lives and works of musicians through primary resources, take a look at what archives have to offer

    • Archives house manuscripts, records, audiovisual materials, and artifacts from the past.

    • While some materials have restrictions due to the age and rarity of the material, many materials can be viewed online in digital collections or a copy can be requested (likely for a fee).

    • Example: Beethoven-Haus Digital Archives ( )

      • Houses music manuscripts, written documents, music prints, photographs, objects, audio clips, and more

    • Archives (or special collections) are often part of or work in conjunction with libraries, museums, universities, and government and nonprofit entities.


    • Modern day marvels - things from the past

    • Focus on broad topic - focus solely on a music genre or musician

    • Tours & in-person Exhibits

      • Great places for field trips

      • Students have the opportunity to see materials and artifacts in person and get a real feel for them.

      • Sometimes hands-on

      • Tours - guide will explain the significance and stories behind the exhibits

      • May not be possible due to logistics, budget restraints, or many other restrictions facing educators

    • Online Collections

      • Audio and visual materials to use in lessons

        • The National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota has an online collection viewable from their eMuseum. (

          • View musical instruments predating 1800 to get a sense of the evolution of instruments and their differences from modern day instruments.

          • Images include accordions and harmonicas, keyboards, woodwinds, and string, brass, electronic, mechanical, and percussion instruments, and more

        • Smithsonian’s collection on Hip-Hop and Rap (

          • View images of influential hip-hop and rap artists, significant artifacts

          • Boombox used by Public Enemy

    • Online Exhibits

      • Many museums offer online exhibits, often in conjunction with their in-person exhibits.

      • Smithsonian museums are an outstanding example of this,

    • Educator Resources

  • Collections and exhibits change and grow

  • Check back

  • Possibilities for new and exciting things