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About the MLA Archives

The Music Library Association Archives at Special Collections in Performing Arts of the University of Maryland collects and maintains materials deemed to be of permanent worth based on their administrative, fiscal, legal, research or historical value for documenting the association’s activities. Materials are generated from the fulfillment of official responsibilities in MLA or its chapters (although some chapters, in conjunction with the MLA Archivist, have designated a more local repository for its archives). The MLA Archives also holds the archives of the US Branch of IAML prior to the merger of the MLA and IAML-US MLA Archives.

mla-archivesPhoto: MLA Archives

Submitting Materials to the MLA Archives

Who Should Transfer Materials?

Those in elected or appointed positions that include administrative responsibility for the work they undertake. Positions include:

  • national officers
  • committee, subcommittee and interest group chairs/coordinators (see Part III)
  • liaisons to other organizations
  • editors of publications (whatever the medium), including serials, monographs and conference documents

The Administrative Officer will coordinate transfer of files residing at the Business Office. Further guidelines for Chapters, Committee Chairs, and Administrative Officers may be found in Parts II-IV (respectively), of the Guidelines for Transfer.

When to Transfer Materials?

Upon leaving a position, transfer files to the MLA Archives if they will not be needed by your successor to carry out the business of the position.

MLA Publications (two copies) should be sent to the MLA Archives by the publications' editor as soon they appear.

What Types of Materials to Transfer?

Send files that, in your estimation, have or are likely to have historical value to the Music Library Association or to music librarianship generally. Send primary documents, including born-digital files and essential secondary documents. The MLA Archives accepts documentation in paper and electronic form. See Part V of the Guidelines for Transfer.

Examples of primary documents: letters of appointment; membership rosters or attendance records of the committee, etc.; statements of policy and official decisions relating to the position; calendars of activities; minutes of meetings; records of proposed and actual accomplishments; conference programs; budget requests; financial and audit reports; publicity; two "best copies” of MLA publications; official MLA artifacts, mailings and memos to members, ballots with bios and candidates’ statements, texts of awards and citations.

Confidential files should be sent with suitable provisions for restricted access.

If you are uncertain whether to retain something for transfer to the MLA Archives or to discard it, retain it.

What Not to Transfer

Do not send in-force contracts, minor email exchanges, financial documents of only temporary value (e.g., cancelled checks), tax records, or multiple copies of documents.

How to Transfer Materials?

Materials transferred to the MLA Archives should be accompanied by the official form, "Transfer of Documents to the MLA Archives." This serves as an inventory of what you are sending.

Label each folder or other container with the name of the position, committee, etc., and a subheading that includes the dates of the contents. (e.g., "Publications Committee – minutes – 1995-1997.”

For containers of analog or digital data, include technical specifications on the label of the container, CD, etc.  For further instructions on electronic files, see Part V, Guidelines for Submitting Electronic Records.

Pack containers securely for mailing or other conveyance and send them to the address on the Transfer form. Postage is paid by the sender, but reimbursement may be available from MLA in the absence of such support from the institution with which the sender is affiliated.

Send materials with transfer form to:

Vincent J. Novara 
Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library/SCPA
8115 Alumni Drive
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1630
Attn: MLA

See the complete Guidelines for Transfer for further information.


For questions related to the holdings of the MLA Archives please contact:

Vincent J. Novara
Curator, Special Collections in Performing Arts
Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library/SCPA
University of Maryland
tel 301.405.9220 fax 301.314.7170

For more information about the MLA Archives please contact:

Sandy Rodriguez
MLA Archivist
University of Missouri--Kansas City
tel 816.235.2229 fax 816.333.5584

Current MLA Archives Projects

Reappraisal, Deaccessioning, Arrangement, Description, and Processing Project

The MLA Archives is currently unprocessed and the only aids for identifying material in the collection are an inventory and other various documents maintained by the Curator, SCPA. Upon the MLA Archivist’s recommendation (see special report to the Board), the MLA Archives completed reappraisal and deaccessioning, and with special funding provided by the Board is currently undergoing arrangement, description, and processing of the collection. 


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About MLA

The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.