The Collegian
Wednesday, February 01, 2023

What is this place? Mary Morton Parsons Music Library

While many students may know that the Mary Morton Parsons Music Library exists, few likely know about the extensive collection that is housed there, or some of its other features.

University of Richmond students can take out up to five CDs per visit of the library’s 12,000-plus collection. The CDs available range from Jay-Z to Beethoven and everywhere in between, and all rentals are free.

The Parsons Music Library also holds more than 18,000 scores and more than 12,000 books. Some of the books include music encyclopedias, music and musician dictionaries and catalogs of popular musicians. A collection of music journals is also on display and available to students.

In addition to print and listening materials, the Parsons Music Library is also home to many DVDs and VHS tapes. The video collection includes operas, musicals, dance performances, concerts, instructional programs and documentaries.

With all of these materials, the library also has its own three study rooms for student use, including video and audio playback equipment. It also has a general study area, as well as a few desktop computers and a printer.

The Parsons Music Library was built in the bridge between the Modlin Center and Booker Hall in 1996. Until then, the books about music had been in Boatwright Memorial Libarary and the music department had been collecting scores, but the new area brought everything together, said Linda Fairtile, head of Parsons Music Library.

Fairtile said the library now had a budget to buy CDs and other materials for its collection the same way Boatwright Memorial Library had a budget to buy books, although a small bit of the library collection had been donated. The Parsons Music Library is also still a part of Boatwright, but it makes more sense to have its current location as opposed to being in the main library, Fairtile said.

While being located on the bridge between Modlin and Booker increased the ease of access to the library for music faculty and students, Fairtile said many others come for the peace of the library or just to enjoy the music. “The library is not only for the music department, but also for people to enjoy,” Fairtile said. “You can find something you’re going to like no matter what your interests.”

The Parsons Music Library currently employs a staff of two full-time faculty members and 16 students. It can be accessed through the second floor of Booker Hall or the third floor of the Modlin Center. It is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Features editor Victor Nichols at

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