Library and Archives

Reference Services

Explore black music using all of our published and archival print and audio-visual resources, including scores and sheet music. 

CBMR reference librarians may be available during open hours to help you–just ask. Appointments are highly suggested, and can be requested by email, by phone: (312) 369-7586, or from our new appointments site.

The Reading Room now has an acoustic baby grand piano for use during specific times (if it will not disturb other patrons) and during events.  An electronic keyboard is available for your use at all times.

link to Collections Database

Click on the image above to explore collections at the CBMR! 

Our collections database is now available at

Please feel free to call a librarian at 312-369-7586 for assistance. Or email and someone will return your inquiry.

Note that collections and information are being added on a regular basis to the database.

At this time, most of the processed holdings have at least a brief listing in the database. However, the vertical (subject) file collection information is partial, as is the Music File information. Updates on progress will be posted here.

Please send any questions, suggestions, or information about broken links on the site to: 

You may also email from within the Collections site; someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Many more materials are available than currently cataloged, so do send or call in your requests and queries to or 312-369-7586.We will be happy to help you find what you're looking for, and more!

Books and theses, plus commercial recordings on CD and DVD may be discovered in the library catalog. See other website pages linked below for more general information about archival collections and a partial list of sound recordings.

Visiting Us

618 South Michigan Avenue, 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60605

Reading Room hours

Open hours:
Generally someone is available on Monday–Thursday, 10am to 4pm and Friday from 10am to 1pm. Do contact us first, or make an appointment, if possible, to confirm availability. Staff schedules vary.

To make an appointment for reference, repertoire, projects, or listening assistance, please contact us at, by phone at 312-369-7586, or online.

Access and Hours

The CBMR Reading Room is free and open to the public!

Library hours are 10a to 4p (Central Time) Monday–Thursday, and 10a to 1p on Fridays. Appointments are highligh suggested to ensure that a librarian can assist you. The CBMR Library is located at: 618 South Michigan Avenue, 6th floor, in Chicago, Illinois.

The books, recordings, and archival collections of the CBMR Library are non-circulating. They can be consulted by anyone on-site during the Library's hours of operation. Copies can be made by staff as needed, within guidelines of copyright law.

Send research requests to, or feel free to call us at (312) 369-7586. Our fax number is (312) 369-8029. For material donations, please contact the Archivist at (312) 369-7518.

Visitors who are not affiliated with Columbia College Chicago may be required to show a current photo ID (faculty or student ID or current driver's license or state ID) and to sign in at the security desk in the lobby of 618 S. Michigan Avenue.

Correspondence should be addressed to:

Center for Black Music Research Library and Archives
Columbia College Chicago
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

Collections and Types of Materials

The Library and Archives of the Center for Black Music Research holds comprehensive research collections covering all genres and styles in black music of the United States and the African diaspora.

Collections include:

  • books
  • periodicals and newsletters
  • commercial and noncommercial (unreleased) sound recordings in many formats
  • printed and manuscript sheet music and scores
  • photographs
  • video recordings
  • manuscripts and archival materials
  • programs and publicity
  • clippings from newspapers and publications
  • oral history interviews
  • research notes and files
  • an in-depth collection of theses and dissertations on black music
What you can do here at the CBMR

Students, visitors, and faculty come to the CBMR's Reading Room for:

  • classes,
  • discussions,
  • tours, and
  • events, as well as to ... 
  • research black music for both coursework and personal projects,
  • study in small groups,
  • write,
  • listen to 78s or LPs,
  • find new repertoire, and
  • discover inspiration in sound, image, moving image, and words in a multiplicity of ways!

You may freely use the thousands of books and dissertations, periodicals and newsletters, vertical file materials such as clippings and programs, photographs, scores and sheet music, analog and digital recordings, oral history interviews, and archival collections on site. Copies can also be made for your convenience for school projects and other uses. Some additional permissions may be required, but the librarians are happy to assist with this process. If a librarian is not available to help you when you drop in, appointments can be made for short or longer reference assistance time frames by emailing or calling the reference desk at (312) 369-7586.

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