Lewis Music Library at MIT


The Music Library at MIT originally functioned as a music lounge when it opened in the Hayden Building (Building 14) in 1950. Over the years, this space evolved into a music library. The library was totally renovated in October 1996 when it was renamed the Rosalind Denny Lewis Music Library. Along the outside of the mezzanine are nineteen glass panels which contain an etched piece of music composed specifically for the library by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and MIT Professor of Music, John Harbison.

The Lewis Music Library opened its doors after a five-month renovation that transformed the old music library into a dynamic facility. For the construction to occur during MIT’s summer school break, the entire contents of the library were placed in storage so that the old library space could be demolished. Construction lasted from July until October when the library was essentially completed. The Lewis Music Library incorporates an elegant beauty along with the practical functionality demanded by today’s academic libraries.

Ben Olson was responsible for all furnishings within the library. The first floor and mezzanine level include attractive reading areas with large custom designed study tables. Comfortable seating is also available by the journal lounge area. The curved mezzanine contains custom-built listening carrels, a listening lounge, group listening/viewing room, conference room, librarian’s office, and audio preservation room.