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Performing Arts Library


The Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library (MSPAL) carries more than 300,000 holdings/recordings, including the renowned International Piano Archives at Maryland. Its location inside the Clarice Smith Center is a valuable asset and rare convenience for students — a specialized library that neighbors the academic unit, all in the same building.

MSPAL is the central location on the College Park campus for music, theatre, and dance materials. MSPAL's circulating, reference, serial, and special collections combine to make it one of the country's most comprehensive university libraries of its kind. Opened in 2000 as part of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, MSPAL's public spaces include a spacious main reading room, a separate reading room for special collections, a lounge-style study room, a seminar room, and a group study room. A multi-media exhibition gallery, with an adjacent lecture/concert room, links the Library to the Smith Center's exciting programming via the Grand Pavilion.

Throughout MSPAL patrons find a variety of comfortable spaces for reading, listening, viewing, and studying. Individual carrels with computer workstations provide access to the UM Libraries' full complement of electronic resources and feature an excellent remote audio/video delivery system.

Reference librarians, curators, and expert permanent staff are available on weekdays during regular working hours. However, the library is open evening and weekend hours, and offers basic circulation and information services during those times.

The Michele Smith Performing Arts Library is particularly well known for its special collections; over a mile of manuscripts, letters, sound recordings, programs, scrapbooks, photographs, and other archival materials comprise some of the primary source materials available in the Library. Periodic various publications and recordings based on the collections are produced by the Library and distributed internationally. The Library also sponsors various symposia, exhibitions, and other special events throughout the year.

International Piano Archives at Maryland

The International Piano Archives at Maryland is a unique resource for the study, appreciation, and preservation of the classical piano repertoire and its performance. IPAM's collections comprise one of the world's most extensive concentrations of piano recordings, books, scores, programs, and related materials, including the archival papers of many great keyboard artists.

The International Piano Archives was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1965 by Albert Petrak and Gregor Benko, who soon moved the organization to New York City where they added William Santaella to the staff. In New York, the Archives quickly grew into an audio treasure and earned acclaim for its reissues of historic piano performances. In 1977, the International Piano Archives was given to the University of Maryland, College Park, where it serves students and faculty, as well as an international community of musicians, researchers, and friends of piano performance.

From 1980 to 1994, under the leadership of Neil Ratliff, IPAM's collections increased and diversified, and the reissues of historic piano performances continued. Mr. Ratliff also initiated the publication of books and a newsletter, as well as a program of public events and exhibitions. IPAM's first Curator, Morgan Cundiff, was succeeded in 1993 by Donald Manildi.

To learn more about the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library and the International Piano Archives and Maryland, click here.