Routes into performance librarianship:
: an examination of the educational issues of performance librarianship

  • Katherine Alice Crane

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Economic and Social Studies


This study examines the educational paths taken by music librarians working within a performance library environment, and considers possibilities for the future of performance library education.

The study begins from the premise that there are significant differences between performance librarianship and other branches of music librarianship (such as academic music librarianship). Music librarianship in general is seen as a specialist area; there are very few LIS modules devoted to it, and none specifically on performance librarianship. As higher education courses in the field of music are also unlikely to dwell specifically on the skills needed to be a successful performance librarian, it could be argued that there is a lack of formal education in this field.

The aim of this study is, having demonstrated the truth of the initial premise, to identify the ways in which the educational routes taken by performance librarians differ from those working in other areas of music librarianship. Having formed a clearer picture of these differences, the study considers whether or not there is a need for a formal course devoted to performance librarianship, and what such a course would need to cover in order to be useful.

A review of the literature relevant to this field demonstrated the truth of the initial premise, and went some way towards addressing the research questions. An analysis of qualitative data gathered through interviews with performance librarians was then used to explore the topic further.

The study concludes that, despite the unique nature of performance librarianship making it something for which practical experience is even more important than in other areas of librarianship, there would be some benefits to a course introducing certain aspects of it. Suggestions are made as to what such a course should involve, and potential questions for further research are proposed.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorAllen Foster (Supervisor)


  • music library
  • librarianship training
  • performance library

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