Request for Proposals: Current State of Music Librarianship Special Issue

We are planning a special issue of Notes titled “The Current State of Music Librarianship,” and we’re writing to ask you to consider contributing to it.

In light of the profound changes to daily life and the operations of countless institutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is an especially important time to consider the state of music libraries. Many of us had to make major changes to meet our users’ needs for remote teaching and research. We adjusted modes of service and found creative ways to deliver content. As the effects of the pandemic linger, we’ve restored past practices in some areas, but in others retained changes, and we expect more changes to come. In many ways, our profession has evolved more during the past few years than during the preceding few decades.

With this in mind, the first issue of volume 80 of Notes will be devoted to a set of essays that look at various facets of the profession of music librarianship. Each contribution will highlight a specific topic and give a sense of where we were, where we are, and where we might be headed.

Over two decades ago, as the profession moved into the twenty-first century, a similar set of essays was published in Notes (March 2000 [vol. 56, no. 3]). We seem to have reached another milestone that merits a pause for reflection and reassessment. For this special issue, you may propose any subject you like, but as you consider possible topics, the thirteen essays in that March 2000 issue of Notes might provide points of departure or reference for your own.

  • Collection development and management
  • Preservation
  • Cataloging
  • Technology
  • Copyright
  • Reference
  • Reference sources
  • User education
  • Music publishing
  • Sound recordings
  • The antiquarian market
  • Archives
  • Education for music librarianship

Granted, the relative importance of some of these topics to the profession has changed over the last twenty years. Some, like “copyright,” were narrowly addressed–confined to activities like photocopying and copying CDs–yet intellectual property issues have become far more complicated in our more advanced digital age. Others, like “reference,” have been fundamentally changed as more work is done online and services are provided remotely. And there are other topics that lamentably were overlooked–such as diversity, equity, and inclusion–which we now recognize are key to the profession and our mission as music librarians.

There are countless other strong topics, and we encourage you to be creative. The first step is to submit a CV along with a proposal for your essay—one page long, no more than five hundred words. In your proposal, you should define your topic and lay out the key points you would make in your essay. Once we have received the proposals, we will make selections based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the topic and its importance to the profession
  • Expertise of the author(s)
  • Originality of perspective(s)
  • Clarity of writing
  • Ability to evaluate and synthesize established music library practices
  • Ability to anticipate changes to the profession based on historical trends

Send proposals to Jonathan Sauceda at jsauceda at esm. rochester . edu by May 1, 2022. Contributors will be notified by May 27, 2022.

The authors of the approved proposals will be asked to write an essay of about 2,500 words (about ten double-spaced pages), with a due date of January 9, 2023. The completed essays will go out for peer review to get feedback on content and writing style, and edits will be made in time for the issue to go to press in April 2023.

We hope you find the idea of this special issue as exciting as we do. If you have any questions please write us at  jsauceda at esm. rochester . edu  and richard at griscom. info We look forward to receiving your proposals.

Jonathan Sauceda
Editor, Notes

Richard Griscom
Assistant editor, Notes