The Paramount Theatre Music Library is one of the largest collections of sheet music in the country, with approximately 250,000 catalog entries of music dating from the 1870s to the 1950s. The Library consists of three categories of printed music: Symphonic, Chorus, and Popular. The Symphonic and Chorus libraries were obtained by the City of Oakland from the original Oakland Symphony in 1985 and are material typical of such collections.
The Popular Music Library, the largest and most well-known of the three, was originally collected by various radio stations, by band and orchestra leaders, and by other professional musicians and dedicated amateurs. It comprises many genres of printed music, including silent film and movie selections, opera and operetta-derived, salon, parlor, semi-classical, circus, ice show, vaudeville, ballet, Dixieland, Big Band, music both by and about various immigrant and social classes, humor, ballads, and all the dance forms popular in their respective eras. The instrumentation encompasses all combinations from solo up to and including Theatre orchestra. This voluminous collection is, appropriately, housed in the Oakland Paramount Theatre of the Arts, a landmarked building contemporary with much of the collection.