MIT Libraries' News, Vol. 8, No. 2
November 6, 1996
is a brand new library on campus. The Rosalind Denny Lewis Music
Library opened its doors this October after a five-month renovation
that transformed the old music library into a dynamic facility.
This past May, the entire contents of the library were placed in
storage so that the old library space could be demolished. Construction
lasted from July until October when the library was essentially
completed. The Lewis Library incorporates an elegant beauty along
with the practical functionality demanded by today's academic libraries.
by MIT Architect Melanie Brothers, the Lewis Library incorporates
a highly efficient use of space that expanded the old library by
2,500 square feet. The extensive collection of 10,000 books, 25,000
music scores, and 20,000 recordings is housed in compact shelving
(on movable tracks) which will allow the collection to expand well
into the 21st century. A curved mezzanine contains 22 custom-built
listening carrels, a listening lounge, group listening/viewing room,
conference room, librarian's office, and audio preservation room.
Along the outside of the mezzanine are 19 glass panels which contain
an etched piece of music composed specifically
for the library by Pulitzer Prize- winning composer and MIT Professor
of Music, John Harbison. The first floor features a custom-built
circulation desk, staff offices, shelving, reading areas, display
case, and a special collections room with climate control. Artist
and MIT alumnus John Powell designed the library's front door, light
fixtures, and mezzanine glass panels. The exquisite woodwork seen
throughout the library consists of sycamore with a mahogany trim.
efforts for the new library were spearheaded by Ellen Harris, Prof.
of Music, and then Associate Provost for the Arts, and completed
by Alan Brody, current Associate Provost for the Arts. Cherry
('41) and Mary Emerson, who have been strong supporters of the
arts at MIT, offered to support the much desired and necessary
renovation of the MIT Music Library in the spring of 1995. The
Library is named for Mary's mother, Rosalind Denny Lewis, wife
of the late MIT professor, Warren K. "Doc" Lewis, and grandmother of Dean for Undergraduate
Education, Rosalind Williams. Professor "Doc" Lewis was Cherry
Emerson's advisor at MIT.
other donors have made very generous contributions to the project.
These include Sandra and David Bakalar ('51), whose gift will name
the Bakalar Listening Center; Lawrence C. Erdmann ('63), whose gift
will name the Erdmann Special Collections Room; Cynthia du Pont
Tobias ('72) and Professor Emeritus Warren Rohsenow, whose gifts
will name the Roy Lamson Conference Room; Dr. W. Gerald Austen ('51);
Norton Belknap ('50); Anne and Bruce Blomstrom ('59); Dorothea and
Bradford Endicott ('49); Frances Fahnestock; Gordon P. Getty; Marilyn
B. Hoffman; Robert B. Millard ('73); Carlos Prieto ('58); Raymond
S. Stata ('57); Ruth and Daniel Vershbow ('45); and Peter J. Wender
might be expected, the new library has been enthusiastically received.
Comments from students include the following: "In general, very
cool. Almost makes me wish I weren't a senior." "I love it here!!."
"My house will look like this!!" "This place rocks!!"
now has a music library as compelling and attractive as its collection.
Thanks to the generosity of donors and the hard work of library
staff, this project has become a reality. The Lewis Library will
provide valuable music resources in a comfortable setting for generations
to come. Music lovers rejoice!
Peter Munstedt, Music Librarian