Growing alongside the Art and Music departments at Colby, the Art and Music Library in Bixler has expanded rapidly since its modest beginnings in 1959. Initially situated in a small room on the first floor now converted to classroom space, the library had a limited number of volumes and no circulation staff. The Art and Music Library has now grown to house approximately 2,200 reference volumes, 10,000 scores, 30,000 monographs, 11,000 sound recordings and 1,200 videos, alongside study, research, listening , computing, and viewing space.
The Bixler Art and Music Building, originally built in 1959 under President Julius Seelye Bixler, followed a large fundraising effort and the establishment of the Art and Music departments in 1940 and ’41. Both the building and the library within it have undergone many renovations since the initial construction. The first building expansion of Bixler occurred in 1973, when the library was relocated to the space in which it now resides. A large number of volumes were transferred from Miller Library at this time. The Slide and Sound Recording collections were assembled in a room adjacent to the library proper. However, the Art and Music Library still lacked any coordinated management. The first Art and Music Librarian was hired in 1983, which coincided with another renovation of the library, completed in 1984. Although this renovation added shelving space, a closed listening area and improved listening and viewing equipment, the library soon outgrew itself. The latest addition to the library was dedicated in 1992. Improvements included additional shelf space for growth in books and scores, a library seminar room, a new slide library and AV listening area, ample attractive study space for student use. Since 1992, many enhancements have taken place, including the addition of computing facilities, electronic databases for research, wireless access, and compact shelving for high-density storage of quickly growing art and music collections. In 2010, the old AV center was renovated into a multipurpose open lab and digital classroom for digital art and music.