The Library has one of the most extensive specialised collections of music and drama print and electronic resources in Europe, and is integral to the Guildhall School’s status as a centre of excellence in music and drama teaching, learning and research.
It aims to provide students with a comfortable, supportive and welcoming study environment. Its staff all have a specialist knowledge of, and an interest in, music or drama and will always do their best to help you. Student levels of satisfaction with the collections and enquiry services are always very high.
Access the School Library Catalogue online
The Library Catalogue is now available via this website and via MyGuildhall, allowing users to check stock holdings when the Library is not open.
For further information, please contact: Library@gsmd.ac.uk
The services that the Library offers include
Lending facilities for books on music, theatre, drama criticism, stagecraft, costume, and music therapy. There is also a comprehensive collection of plays, poetry, scores, sets of chamber music parts and DVD recordings. Items not immediately available can be reserved and the Library responds to requests for new material either by purchase or loan from external sources. Teaching and performance material is provided for curricular use. A complete set of Orchestral Excerpts on CD-ROM gives access to a huge collection of instrumental excerpts for exam and audition use.
Reference and study facilities are in the Westrup Library which occupies the upper floor of the Library. In addition to the main study area which houses the Westrup and Reference collections of books and scores, there is a Drama Library, an Audio-Visual Aisle and a Computer Area, each with additional study facilities. The Audio-Visual Aisle has study carrels with listening facilities for CD and black disc, and video and DVD players for viewing operas and plays. The audio collections include over 9,000 recordings (mostly on CD) for reference use only, and over 3,200 DVDs and videos which can be borrowed for a week at a time.
The library subscribes to over 90 current titles in electronic and print form. A huge range of digitised journal articles in the arts and humanities is available via our JSTOR subscriptions.
The Computer Area houses a range of multimedia workstations. The facilities available at these workstations include internet access, email, word-processing, bibliographic citation software and the ability to compose, arrange and print music scores and parts using Finale and Sibelius notation software. Networked printing from the PCs, and WiFi connectivity, are provided by the IT Department.
E-resources including Grove Online, Drama Online, the International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance, RILM, RISM, RIPM, Music Index, IPA Source, BabelScores, and JSTOR are also available for searching. Results can be printed out. Access to these resources from home or elsewhere outside the School can be requested using the ATHENS login supplied by the Library.
Streaming services include Naxos Audio and Video collections, the Berlin Phil Digital Concert Hall, Medici TV, Music Online - Listening and Digital Theatre Plus.
All new students are offered an introductory tutorial on the use of the Library, including instruction in the use of the online computer catalogue. This tutorial is supplemented by a series of leaflets on specific aspects of library use and further user education seminars and 1-1 appointments.
The Library also produces bibliographies of library resources in various subject areas, and has further helpful resources, including lists of most recent items added to stock, and Internet links on the School’s intranet.
Due to the pressure on space in the Library, we are only open to current staff and students, and to visiting researchers for the purpose of consulting our special collections. Access to these is by appointment only: please contact us by e-mail library@gsmd ac.uk to arrange this.
If you are a registered PhD student or staff member of a SCONUL university, you can apply for external membership of the Library. This should be done via your home institution under SCONUL Access terms and conditions. You must then contact library@gsmd ac.uk to book an induction before coming to the School. Access cards are only issued at specific times, not by the Library, and you may have a wasted trip otherwise.
Our orchestral library is in constant heavy use to support the curriculum needs of the staff and students of the School. We are therefore not able to loan or hire out any of our teaching sets to musicians not at the School.
Most public libraries are able to arrange this type of loan for their users.
Due to current severe space restrictions in the Library, we can only consider donations in very specific circumstances:
- On condition that we are able to pass on to our students any part of a donation that is surplus to requirements
- Where a substantial part of the donated material makes a significant addition to the Library's current holdings
We are always extremely grateful to anyone who offers us a donation, and completely understand that the conditions we are obliged to impose may not meet a donor's requirements.
Please contact us for further information.
The Library does not hold any archives. Surviving material can be found at the London Metropolitan Archives, which can be visited and where the staff will be pleased to assist.
All the School's vacant posts are advertised on the Job Opportunities section of the City of London Corporation's website.
Specific vacancies in the Guildhall School Library are also advertised on jobs.ac.uk
We can sometimes offer short periods of unpaid work experience or placements for library school students, by arrangement. Please contact us for further information.
The Library is open for reference only, by appointment only, to members of the public.
Please telephone 020 7382 5281 to arrange an appointment, or contact us by email.
The Library houses a number of special collections:
- The Harris Opera Collection
- The Merrett Collection of Double Bass Music
- The Goossens Oboe Music Collection
- The Lynex Opera Collection
- The Appleby Collection of Guitar Music
Additionally, we house the Lute Society and the Alkan Society Collections on behalf of their owners.
All of these special collections are fully searchable on the library catalogue with the exception of the Lute Society and the Appleby Collection.
A notable feature of the Library's reference facilities is the presence of the Westrup Library. This fine collection of 4,500 books on music history and musicology was the property of Sir Jack Westrup until his death. Thanks to the generosity of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, the collection was saved from being broken up at auction, and presented to the School on permanent loan.
The Antiquarian collection consists of nearly 200 books and music scores dating from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century up to 1850. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of vocal and chamber music, with a bias towards English composers. Little is known about the origin of the collection. It has been suggested that it could have come from a country house, where the owner used it in private musical performances, however, it is just have likely to have been put together by an enthusiastic collector, who perhaps had a special interest in English and vocal music. Much of the collection has been in the School since the early twentieth century. In the 1980s, a substantial number of items were donated by the Lynex family, and, more recently, other items were donated by Anthony Besch and George Odam. A small number of Westrup items printed before 1850 which have also been placed in the Antiquarian collection.
More information on the collection, including access to it, can be found in the PDF below.
The Library is frequently contacted by researchers wishing to consult the School's archives. As the Guildhall School is part of the Corporation of the City of London, its surviving archives are now in the care of the London Metropolitan Archives.
Basic enquiries about the School's archives can be answered by the LMA's staff by letter, email, or phone.
No archives are kept at the School itself.