At the end of spring 2023, contents in the Music Library, presently located in Ewell Hall, will move to the Reeder Media Center. This change will happen as the music department moves to a newly-constructed building alongside the renovated Phi Beta Kappa Hall.
The Music Library is used primarily by music students and contains a collection of music, scores, CDs and technology.
“Looking at the data, the technology is the most heavily used material over there,” Associate Dean of Research and Public Services Lisa Nickel said.
Nickel emphasized the benefits of this move.
“We are steps away from the new [music] building so it makes sense to put them all in one place where we’ve got the most people and the most space to manage these things effectively,” Nickel said, referring to the Reeder Media Center.
Music major Justin Oei ’23 believes the library also serves as a studying and community space for students looking to get work done or socialize.
“I’m a music major, so for me and other music majors, and even just people that enjoy music and spend a lot of time in Ewell Hall, we just use it as a space or for us to meet,” Oei said. “It fills that town square type of vibe.”
The Music Library is filled with hidden gems like an Edison Phonograph from the early 1900s that is fully mechanically functioning to this day. Music Library Assistant Brigid Cyran ’22 is still on the hunt to obtain a horn and needle for this revolutionary music invention.
English Department Chair Arthur Knight, who also works on campus spacing, emphasized the importance of centrality.
“With a desire to unify attention to arts holdings across the disciplines — it made sense from staffing, patron services and collection perspectives to move the Music Library to Swem.”
“With a desire to unify attention to arts holdings across the disciplines — it made sense from staffing, patron services and collection perspectives to move the Music Library to Swem,” Knight said.
Oei questions, however, why the new building does not have a space for a music library given that there is precedent for department libraries, like with physics and chemistry. He references the need for both students and faculty to access materials.
But when it comes to music related technology, Nickel believes that the Media Center is a great place to house the equipment because the center has a large staff, longer hours and has experience managing technology. The Music Library on the other hand is small; only one student employee works at the library at a time.
“We have so many different loan types — sheet music, books, DVDs, CDs, vinyl records and then a whole range of audio equipment like amps, cables, microphones and synthesizers,” Cyran said. “It’s impossible to expect a William and Mary student who is also seeking a degree to know everything about everything they have here.”
The current branch of the library has invented its own atmosphere through its cozy seating, vintage decoration and welcoming community.
“I love how much agency the students have to use the space however they want,” Cyran said. “The previous Music and Arts Librarian had always let the students shape the space however they wanted, both physically and culturally.”
“I love how much agency the students have to use the space however they want. The previous Music and Arts Librarian had always let the students shape the space however they wanted, both physically and culturally.”
As the Music Library Assistant, Cyran has a personal connection to the space and cannot deny the bittersweet feeling of seeing the physical library closing down. Cyran has been working at the Library since April of this year, continuing their work of running this branch after graduating.
“The Music Library has a very special place in my heart and I am sad to see it go, but I also know there’s bigger changes happening on campus in terms of the new arts building which is awesome for all the performing arts programs,” Cyran said.