Expansive collection of music found in Crouch Fine Arts Library

Crouch Student Employee Johnathan Sumner listening to music from the vinyl collection located in Crouch Library. Mireya Sol Ruiz | Multimedia Journalist.

By Alyssa Foy | Reporter

The Crouch Fine Arts Library is full of musical and artistic resources for Baylor University students, faculty and staff.

Tucked away in the corner of the third floor at Moody Memorial Library, the Crouch Fine Arts Library maintains an expansive collection of thousands of audio and video recordings, music scores, art books and multiple rare and historical special collections.

Clayton Crenshaw, music liaison librarian and curator of the special collections, said one of the more extensive of the special collections is the Frances G. Spencer Collection of Popular Sheet Music, which has about 30,000 pieces of popular music throughout history, dating back to the late 1700s.

The Spencer Collection includes multiple first-editions, several sub-collections and the work of many well-known composers. Three-fourths of the collection are considered to be in mint condition, according to the library.

Almost half of the Spencer Collection has been digitized. Additional digital data-based resources exist to download and organize its details by category such as title or composer and an animated visualization of geographical data is also offered online.

Another collection, Crenshaw said was an enjoyable project, was working with the music manuscripts of Richard M. Willis, composer-in-residence from 1962 to 1996.

“[Willis] was Baylor’s composer-in-residence for more than 30 years,” Crenshaw said. “We finally were able to professionally process and preserve all of his manuscripts and papers… which is now available online so that people all over the world can know about his work.”

The library’s collections are often used by researchers from Baylor, beyond the University, and from many different academic disciplines.

“Those collections are available to all Baylor students, faculty, staff, and so we encourage folks to use them,” Crenshaw said. “It’s not just what we have here in the building, we also have vast collections of materials available online.”

Master’s candidate Haley Houk is studying performance studies at the school of music. She has been a student assistant at the Crouch Fine Arts Library for over two years, helping people locate the resource materials they need.

Houk said the resources have contributed to her studies as a musician.

“As a grad student, a lot of our classes are based on writing and doing a lot of research,” Houk said. “I’m in the library quite often using their physical resources, but also we have a lot of great online resources.”

Many of the physical materials are available for checkout with a Baylor ID, but a plethora of resources are available digitally through various services Baylor subscribes to for student, faculty and staff use.

“We have several different digital databases that allow us to watch some of the best orchestras in the world,” Houk said.