The nucleolus is a subcellular compartment with a key essential function in ribosome biogenesis. The nucleolus is rich in noncoding RNAs, mostly the ribosomal RNAs and small nucleolar RNAs. Surprisingly, also several miRNAs have been detected in the nucleolus, raising the question as to whether other small RNA species are present and functional in the nucleolus. We have developed a strategy for stepwise enrichment of nucleolar small RNAs from the total nucleolar RNA extracts and subsequent construction of nucleolar small RNA libraries which are suitable for deep sequencing. Our method successfully isolates the small RNA population from total RNAs and monitors the RNA quality in each step to ensure that small RNAs recovered represent the actual small RNA population in the nucleolus and not degradation products from larger RNAs. We have further applied this approach to characterize the distribution of small RNAs in different cellular compartments.