Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk



How to borrow Performance Sets from Birmingham Music Library

Important Information for groups who rehearse in the West Midlands and who are registered with the Music Library.

The performance sets service will close at the end of June 2012 for a period of approximately 14 months. Any groups who have not already made their requests for material to use during the closed period, should do so as soon as possible.

Find out more about borrowing Music Sets throughout this period.

There will be a performance sets service on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. There will be no service at any other time.

Please note that our performance sets are no longer available through the inter-library loan system.

This page tells you about the following:

Joining Birmingham Libraries

You have to be over 18 in order to borrow Performance Sets from us. You will need to join Birmingham Libraries if you don't already have a library card.

What we ask of you when you join the Library

  • To bring your library card with you to borrow items from the library
  • To bring items back complete, and on time. You will have to pay a charge for items brought back late
  • To be responsible for all items borrowed on your library card
  • You will be charged for items that are lost or damaged
  • Your library card may not be used by anyone else

What you can borrow

The Music Library holds substantial collections of material for use by societies and other musical organisations. These comprise sets of vocal scores, orchestral and string orchestra sets, and sets of parts for concert bands, big bands, jazz ensembles, dance bands, and amateur orchestras.

The sets are available for loan direct to societies both within Birmingham and the surrounding area at no charge.

The stock aims to represent a substantial proportion of the standard repertoire but it also exists to broaden horizons by providing new, unusual, or expensive works (subject to availability). Suggestions for new stock are welcomed. Where possible, urtext editions are provided as well as more standard versions.

Sets are usually supplied with adequate numbers of parts for a performance by an appropriately sized choir or orchestra. Quantities do vary and while we do try to maintain sets at a reasonable level, older orchestral sets in particular can have an uneven distribution of parts.

Restrictions on some orchestral sets

Some of our material is especially vulnerable as it is now out of print and no longer available. These sets are marked in the catalogue as restricted, or semi-restricted.

Bookings may be made in the usual way but they remain provisional until a written application has been made to the Head of Music Services, and it has been approved.

The letter should include details of the borrower, organisation, work(s) requested, duration of loan, date of performance (if any), and an acknowledgement that is understood that the material is restricted and that any loss of parts will incur punitive fines and/or loss of borrowing rights. It should be noted that approval is not automatic and that an organisation's prior borrowing record will be taken into account.Therefore these sets will NOT be served on demand.

We would expect to reply to an application within 7 days.

Loan period

We will try to meet the loan period you request, as long as the material is not already reserved for someone else.

The provision of materials aims to be as flexible as possible with no set loan period and no fixed limit on the number of instrumental sets which can be borrowed at any one time. Vocal sets can borrowed as a whole or as any part of the whole.

Book in Advance

To avoid disappointment please book in advance, particularly if material has to be ordered from another library. Requests made at short notice may be difficult to fulfil.

What we need to know when you book

When you book a performing set with the library we need to know:

  • Your full name and contact details
  • Your borrower ticket number
  • The composer and title of the piece you want
  • For vocal sets, the language of the singing text
  • The publisher, if you want to specify a particular edition of the piece
  • The date you want the loan to start
  • The date of the performance and the date you will return the set to us

You can contact us at:

Music Library
Birmingham Central Library
Chamberlain Square
Birmingham B3 3HQ

Tel 0121 303 2482
Fax 0121 464 1177

Are you borrowing for Public performances?

The principal aim of the collections is to support music making (both amateur and professional) by means of providing appropriate performance materials.

It is therefore a condition of the loan that societies make an acknowledgement of the sponsorship in kind provided by the library in any programme that is produced.

A suggested form of words is:

We acknowledge the support of Birmingham Music Library who provided the music for tonight's performance.

We can supply a copy of our logo to include in your programme.

Collecting material by Car

Birmingham Central Library is in Chamberlain Square at the top of New Street, next to the Council House and Art Gallery, and behind the Town Hall.

Central Library location map

How to drive to the Central Library's loading bay:
Queensway, the Ring Road, passes underneath Central Library and connects Great Charles Street, Suffolk Street , Broad Street (A456) and Summer Row (A457).

The section connecting Suffolk Street and Broad Street with Great Charles Street is called Paradise Circus. You will need the turning on the right for the Copthorne Hotel.

Then turn right under the Central Library. The Loading Bay opens at 9am and closes at 5.30pm(weekdays only). If this presents any difficulties for you please let us know.


Please remember to return material on time or else you may incur a fine of £5.50 a week for each set, up to a limit of £66.00 per set.

Sets must be complete on return. Incomplete sets will not be accepted. Borrowers must return sets complete and on time, so that they are available for the next choir or orchestra's booking.

If any sets are overdue no further borrowing is permitted until they are returned.

Missing Items

You must replace any items which you lose - please talk to one of our staff to ensure that you purchase the correct edition. Replacement vocal scores may also incur binding charges.

Joining Birmingham Libraries
Central Library location map