Circulating Collections at the Performing Arts Library


Despite its large size, the circulating music collection contains only a fraction of the available music in print. Selection of titles and types of music are based primarily on the interest of our public as they have developed over the past eighty years ever since the Circulating Music Collection was established in 1924 as part of the 58th St. Branch. 


The circulating drama collection encompasses all aspects of the performing arts that are not strictly music or dance. It contains published plays and screenplays in English as well as an extensive collection of film and dramatic criticism and history. 


The circulating dance collection consists of an extensive array of books which illuminate all aspects of theatrical and non-theatrical forms of dance. The collection is especially strong in dance history, dance instruction, and biographies of leading dance figures. The collection is further enhanced by periodicals and commercial videos and DVDs. 

Recorded Sound and Moving Image

Material in the circulating sound and video collection consists solely of commercially released items. 

Reserve Film and Video Collection

The Reserve Film and Video Collection includes more than 6,000 16mm films, 5,000 VHS videocassettes, and 1,200 DVDs. The New York Public Library began acquiring films in 1952, and established a film collection at the Donnell Library in 1958. The library began adding videos to the collection in the 1970s. 

Orchestra Collection

The Orchestra Collection is located on the first floor of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, just past the elevators and the copy room. Due to the specialized nature of the Collection, access is limited to four hours per week and is only open during the concert season, September through June. For more information, see Summer Loan

Song Index

Currently the Song Index is unavilable.  Please email us or inquire at the reference desk.
The contents of songbooks are not always listed in the library catalog. This makes searches for individual songs in the catalog, at best, incomplete. To remedy this situation, we have indexed close to 2,000 reference scores and songbooks. The collection includes full piano-vocal scores, selections from musicals, compilations by a specific composer and/or performer and song anthologies.