Polley Music Library celebrates its 40th year

Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 7:21 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The Lincoln Public Library hit a major milestone this month; It’s been 40 years of the Polley Music Library. On Sunday they celebrated with patrons and musicians.

The Polley Music Library has served the community for 40 years in the Bennet-Martin Library downtown. It’s one of the few public music libraries in the world. Sunday’s celebration included local musicians and a peek into how the library serves Lincoln.

Lincoln is a music city and I think the Polley Music Library collection is another expression of that,” said Scott Scholz, Polly Music Librarian.

In 1982 former University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Lillian Helms Polley decided to leave her music collection with the Lincoln Public Library. Since then, the Polley Music Library has become one of a handful of public music libraries in the world.

“We really have all different kinds of resources for music; both in terms of people and musicians around,” Scholz said.

Typically, music libraries exist only on college campuses. That’s great for students, but for local musicians, like Elysia Arntzen, it’s nice to have a public library to go to for resources.

“It’s a really great resource to have, otherwise you just kind of have the internet which is great but its nice to check out a physical book,” Arntzen said.

The music library is not only for musicians, it’s also for people who want to learn about music.

“People don’t necessarily have to be musicians themselves to appreciate it,” Scholz said. “A lot of biographies on rock and pop musicians country hip hop folk you name it, a pretty good world section, things on record colleting and how to take care of records. It’s a pretty wide range of all sorts of musical topics.”

For Arntzen, Sunday was about celebrating 40 years of the library as well as getting back to normal performances.

“This was the last place we were supposed to play in 2020 so it’s nice to pick this up,” Arntzen said.

The Polly Music Library hopes to serve Lincoln for many years to come.

“It is pretty unusual so I think Lincoln is pretty lucky in that sense,” Scholz said.

The Bennet-Martin Library is holding a music challenge through the end of October to celebrate with challenges such as visiting an event or checking out a certian item from the library.