Schiffman Music Library

Posted on January 11, 2019

The University’s music library (located on the second floor of the Music Building) was renamed the Harold Schiffman Music Library in 2012 for the Greensboro born composer Harold Schiffman, after he and his wife, music educator and pianist Jane Perry-Camp, gave a 2 million dollar gift to UNCG to provide music scholarships.  In addition, the music library became the permanent home for Schiffman’s voluminous music archive.

Prior to 1999, the University Libraries did not have a unified music collection.  Although after 1971, much of the collection was housed in the Music Listening Center (established in 1971) of the Brown Building (which was the home of the School of Music prior to 1999), books and journals continued to be housed in the University’s main library. In 1985, then Dean of the School of Music, Arthur Tollefson, began to push for a unified music library, a move which was opposed by the then Dean of University Libraries, James Thompson. Much of Dean Thompson’s opposition concerned the costs of such a move, as well as a concern that it would open the floodgates to all the departments arguing for a separate departmental library of their own. The argument between Tollefson and Thompson, becoming heated at times, continued in many meetings and memos to Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Zinser, until 1988, when a common proposal was reached with the help of Dr. David Coker, then Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.  It was agreed that a new unified music library would be housed in a new music building to be built within the next decade.  Thompson retired as dean later that year and returned to teaching in the history department at UNCG.  In 1999, when the School of Music moved into the new Music Building, the University’s music library became centralized there, operating, as it still does, as a division of the University Libraries, rather than being under the School of Music.

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