Sheet music collection at Minneapolis Central Library

One of Hennepin County Library’s “buried” treasures is its extensive printed sheet music collection located on the third floor of Minneapolis Central Library.

The library holds deep and varied sheet music, as well as music scores, acquired since 1905, when the library's Music Department was established.

More accessible online

Until recently, the sheet music collection could only be searched by card catalog on Minneapolis Central Library's third floor, and only regular users of the library's music collection knew just how to find what they needed.

But now, based on the success of previous, similar projects and the richness of the sheet music collection, Hennepin County Library is cataloging it for all the world to see online.

For example, here are top composers of piano music with the number of collection items by each and a link to find them in our online catalog:

Edward MacDowell,1860-1908; 80 items

Franz Liszt, 1811-1886; 67 items

Frederic Chopin, 1810-1849; 62 items

Anton Rubinstein, 1829-1894; 57 items

Claude Debussy, 1862-1918; 56 items

Johannes Brahms, 1833-1897; 53 items

Cyril Scott, 1879-1970; 52 items

Cecile Chaminade, 1857-1944; 51 items

Franz Schubert, 1797-1828; 49 items

Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827; 48 items

Classified with Putnam Z

Minneapolis Public Library's original classification system, introduced in 1889 by its first director Herbert Putnam, was expanded in 1910 to accommodate printed music. This was the birth of the Putnam Z classification, which was used for the sheet music collection and scores collection until 1970, when Minneapolis Public Library began using Library of Congress classification.

Differences between the two collections include how they are labeled and housed at Minneapolis Central Library. Sheet music is identified by a forward slash preceding the call number and is housed in filing cabinets; scores do not have a slash and are housed on shelves. These conventions are also applied to Library of Congress-classed music at the library.

To date, cataloging of the following areas of the sheet music collection is substantially completed:

• /ZLa (Organ): 1,027 items

• /Zke (Piano): 3,016 items

• /Zkeb (Piano, left hand): 23 items

• /Zkep (Popular piano music): 197 items

• /Zgm (Operettas): 31 items

• /Zma (Orchestra): 105 items