The Athenaeum invites you to visit our new online catalogue. Although it is still a work in progress, all CDs, DVDs, and the majority of our books can be found here. Members are not only able to search the catalogue—now they can reserve items, renew items online, and save searches by obtaining their patron barcodes from a library staff member. We’re very excited about this new endeavor and look forward to the time when our entire catalogue will be available. Please call us if you have any questions, suggestions, or need assistance.
The Athenaeum offers a wealth of resources on the subjects of music and art unique to this region. Members have access to a wide variety of materials that range from rare, historic items to the latest in video technology. The library is open to the public without charge, although borrowing privileges are limited to members, who pay a modest annual fee. Most audio and video materials circulate for two weeks; up to five may be checked out at one time. Periodicals and books (with the exception of artists' books and those in the Special Collection) circulate for four weeks, with four books and five magazines being the maximum number that may go out at one time.
The library's collections include more than 14,000 monographs that consist of art books, music books, and young people's books in art and music.
Art books: More than 9000 items are in this category. The collection includes books on art techniques, world art, catalogues raisonnes, artists’ biographies, and historical surveys. The art reference section is anchored by one of the most important resources on art, The Grove Dictionary of Art, as well as auction catalogues, art and artist dictionaries, and other guides.
Music books: Featured in this area are many composer and performer biographies, histories of the different eras of Western classical music, texts on theory and different musical instruments, and stylistic surveys. The music reference section also contains the second edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Young people's books: This small, yet impressive part of the library features many beautiful and appealing books on the subjects of music and art aimed at a young audience. The selection includes a growing collection of all books that have won the Caldecott medal.
CDs: This area of the collection enjoys the highest circulation in the library. Now with over 7,000 items, it is one of the largest circulating CD collections in the area. Most prominent are the classical, jazz, and opera sections. Comprehensiveness is always a goal of the library staff, and the variety of composers and operas in the collection attests to this. In addition, the library supports the programming in its chamber music and jazz concert series with its acquisitions. Other subjects found in the collection include world, popular, folk, motion picture, and vocal music, as well as holiday music and music for young people.
LPs: The Athenaeum has a representative collection of classical music in these media. In fact, LPs are still being added to the collection, specifically collectible jazz records and uncommon operas.
Videos: Equal in popularity to the CD collection is the Athenaeum’s video collection. Subject matter includes art and music documentaries, foreign films, and award-winning films from the Sundance, Berlin, Venice and Cannes festivals, as well as all winners of the Academy Award for best picture.
DVDs: This is the library's newest format, and it is proving to be very popular with our members. In acquiring DVDs, we follow the same guidelines as for videos, focusing on quality material that will enhance the mission of our library.
In addition to our regular collection, the library has Special Collections of rare and valuable books, videos, LPs, and other items that do not circulate. The Athenaeum also holds a very distinctive, non-circulating artists’ books collection.
Erika and Fred Torri Artists' Books Collection: A special focus of the Athenaeum's collection is its artists' books, which have proved to be of interest to not only our members but also scholars and researchers on an international level. The collection emphasizes the works of California artists and presses, as well as subject matter that is of significance to the library.
Artists' Books by Ed Ruscha
Bach Werke: The library is also fortunate to have the entire series issued by the Bach Gesellschaft in Leipzig from 1850 – 1900 and containing all of Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions. We are one of the few libraries on the West Coast with this resource, allowing our members access to the complete works of this great composer of Western music.
Other items of interest in the Athenaeum's holdings include its collection of periodicals and music scores.
Periodicals: The library contains a wealth of art and music periodicals, including titles going as far back as the late 19th century. Many are unusual or foreign magazines that are not easily accessed elsewhere. Members may check out back issues for a period of four weeks.
Music scores: The Athenaeum also has an extensive collection of scores for piano, solo wind and string instruments, and chamber music. A collection of miniature scores gives our members access to orchestral music. Most recently, a large and impressive gift of woodwind (particularly oboe) music was added to the collection.
Popular sheet music: Another notable part of the library is our large collection of popular sheet music dating from 1813 to the 1980s. The beautiful cover art alone makes these significant cultural artifacts. Our members have found this collection to be a useful resource for lyrics and melodies of past decades.