Music and performing arts in the library

A vibrant space for music activities and how to borrow performance and playsets from your library.

Oxfordshire Music Library

The Oxfordshire Music Library is a vibrant space within the Oxford Westgate Library with music for all ages and abilities. There is an extensive collection of online resources, CDs, sheet music, music non-fiction books and study scores available to borrow.

What is available at the music library

Music online

Reference Online is available 24 hours a day to library members and contains information on a variety of subjects from encyclopaedias to music, biography, news and art. You can find:

See a full list of reference online titles.

Playlist for Life

Oxfordshire Libraries is now registered as a help point for the music and dementia charity Playlist for Life.

Listening to music can help reduce anxiety, improve mood, make difficult tasks more manageable and evoke memories that can help families and carers connect.

All libraries in Oxfordshire now hold Playlist for Life information and a copy of the 100 Years book, a book of the top UK songs from 1915-2015.

Music performance sets

The Music Performance Set Service is available for all music societies based in Oxfordshire.
We also provide access to our music sets to societies outside of Oxfordshire on the understanding that the set is picked up from and returned to an Oxfordshire library.

Please read the Performance Set Service Guidelines (pdf format, 850Kb) to give you a clearer picture of how the service works.

How to book and hire sets

You need to be a registered member to hire music performance sets. Complete the registration form (pdf format, 81Kb) and post or email it to us with proof of name and address (for example, a copy of driving licence, utility bill or bank statement).

Once registered, use the booking form to make a request

Requests must be made eight weeks in advance. Requests for less than this time will not be accepted. Up to ten forms may be submitted per hour.

What we have available


Much modern copyright material is only available on hire from the relevant publisher. A work is likely to remain in copyright if the composer or the author of vocals died more recently than seventy years ago. Please check for these dates online.

Performance rights

Please note the loan of a performance set does not confer performing rights. This should be obtained if necessary from the appropriate publisher.

Hire charges of vocal and orchestral sets

Oxfordshire residents
Details Price
Vocal scores
(< 5 minutes)
£1 per score per loan period of four months
Vocal scores
(> 5 minutes)
£2.40 per score per loan period of four months
Orchestral Sets £45 per set per loan period of four months
Interlibrary Loan charge for set or part of set £10.50 per loan
Non-Oxfordshire residents
Details Price
Vocal scores (< 5 minutes) £2 per score per loan period of four months
Vocal scores (> 5 minutes) £4.50 per score per loan period of four months
Orchestral sets £65 per set per loan period of four months
No Interlibrary Loans service provided
Sets must be picked up at an Oxfordshire Library

Administration fees

Overdue charges are £16 per vocal or orchestral set per week or part of week.

Cancelled requests will be assessed a £10 admin fee plus any postage and booking charges incurred by the library.

A £10 non-refundable administration fee will be charged for each set returned incomplete. 

Administration fee for loss/damage to music scores £10.

A replacement cost will be charged for lost or damaged items.

BFI Replay

Relive, research and lose yourself in the past with 60 years’ worth of digitised videos and television programmes from the collections of the British Film Institute National Archive and partner UK Regions and Nations Film Archives.

Access in libraries only

BFI trailer



Whether you are in an amateur group, a play-reading group, a church or youth club, we have a large collection of playsets for you to choose from.

Plays range from Shakespeare and Shaw to Alan Ayckbourn and Noel Coward. There is a selection of Christmas plays and pantomimes, too.

Each set has enough copies for each member of the cast, to a maximum of 13 copies.

How to borrow a playset

You need to sign up for a drama group ticket from any library to borrow a playset. Visit any library to reserve a playset.


  • Hire charge: £7 per playset
  • Loan period: 12 weeks
  • Maximum of five sets per drama group

Overdue charges are 35p per playset per day with a maximum of £5.25 per playset.

The charge for lost or damaged copies is based on the replacement cost of the playset.

What we have available

Playsets, available from Oxfordshire Libraries (csv format, 375Kb) - you can sort this list by author, number of cast or genre.

You can also see a list on our online catalogue. Using the advanced search option, under classification, type PLAY SET (all caps, two words) to see all playsets. You can then sort the results by relevance, author, title, or publication year.


Under the Copyright Law, no public performance or reading of a protected play may be given, either in its entirety or in it the form of excerpts, without the prior consent of the owner of the copyright.

Possession of copies of a play does not carry with it the right to perform. Borrowers must apply directly to the holder of such rights, usually the publisher, for consent.