Music collections are often part of larger libraries and that is the case at the University of Texas at Austin, where the Music Library became part of the Fine Arts Library (FAL) in 1980. The rationale for the amalgamation lay in the desire to serve all the departments of the College of Fine Arts (Music, Art and Art History, Theatre and Dance) from one facility that would have the latest in audio-visual equipment, seminar rooms, study spaces, and services as well as fully integrated collections in a facility conveniently located for students and faculty. Since the closure of the Undergraduate Library in 2005, the FAL has been the second-busiest library on campus in terms of physical item circulation (approx. 375,000 items 2009-10). In summer 2009, the FAL added the collection and staff of the former Audio-Visual Library and the Visual Resources Collection thereby adding over 500,000 slides to its existing collection of over 800,000 items.
The Music Library occupied space in the purpose-built Music Building opened in 1942 (the first on campus to be fully air-conditioned). After two moves in the previous five years, in 1972 it moved again, this time into the Old University Library (named Battle Hall in 1973), sharing space with the Architecture Library. Battle Hall (designed by Cass Gilbert) had been the location of main library from 1911 until 1937 when the new main library in the Tower opened. New premises on the east side of campus were designed in the 1970s by Fisher and Spillman of Dallas as part of the Fine Arts complex that included two theatres and a new building for the Department of Music with a large recital hall. The FAL was largest library project the firm had undertaken to date. Subsequent projects have included the Dallas Central Library, the addition to Jesse Jones Memorial Library and the Carroll Library at Baylor University, and the National Library of Kuwait. Jay Frank was the lead architect on the FAL project. His mother was a music teacher and he donated her collection of scores to the library. The FAL underwent its first major renovation in 2005 and was featured in the American Libraries annual facilities issue in April 2006 (see the MLA Newsletter, 146, for details).
In addition to serving faculty, students and staff of the University and the local community with books, scores, journals, and recordings needed for study, research and life-long learning, the Fine Arts Library has several archival collections. The Historical Music Recordings Collection with over 200,000 items is one of the top ten in the country. Comprising primarily commercially-issued 78s and LPs, it also contains numerous special collections, including the audio archives of the Houston Symphony and the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the faculty and guest artist recitals performed at the University of Texas, the tapes of broadcast radio dramas including Inner Sanctum from the residual producer, and artist interviews from the Center for International Contemporary Arts (NYC). More recently the FAL has added paper archival collections of individuals such as piano pedagogue Lynn Freeman Olson, actor and playwright Sam Shepard, and the late faculty member and opera star Jess Walters.
Former employees, students and volunteers active in music librarianship include Mark Blair (Texas State University, San Marcos), Amy Edmonds (Ball State University), Robert Hallis (University of Central Missouri), Ray Heigemeir (Stanford University), Beth Iseminger (Harvard University), Beth Royal (West Virginia University), and Tracey Rudnick (University of Hartford).