Friday, January 21, 2011

Stephen Foster and the Rare Library Fail

My gratitude for public libraries is immense. I'm particularly grateful that we live within several miles of a public library that ties into the Carnegie library system, which has to be one of the best in the country. I love that I can find most (not all, mind you, but most) of the resources and books I go looking for, put a request through via computer, and within several days (or a little longer depending on popularity) have that resource hit the shelf.

I honestly don't know how anyone homeschooling (on a nonexistent budget or elsewise) gets along without libraries. We use the library for everything we study, from science to history to art and music, and lots more besides. One thing I love about exploring the library system is that I often turn up resources I never knew existed. We've fallen in love with many a book or recording that I just happened to stumble upon while looking for something else.

I've gotten so used to that serendipity and to the library's impeccable service that I'm astonished when a little glitch, or a little human error, creeps into the system. Take today, for example...

Friday is art and music day, and I was excited to be introducing the sweet girl to composer Stephen Foster today. He not only wrote some of the most memorable American folksongs, he's from our area. And (as a cherry on the sundae topping) while scrolling for library resources I'd found a version of his "O Susanna!" on the CD The Arkansas Traveler by a group called Pa's Fiddle Band.

Yes, that Pa. And yes, that Fiddle. This group apparently has three CDs out, all recordings of music from Laura Ingalls Wilder's wonderful Little House series. Given the sweet girl's love of all things Wilder right now, and the fact that we just last night finished the last page of These Happy Golden Years ("THAT was the BEST BOOK EVER" she pronounced, with her hand over her heart) I was really excited to introduce Foster by way of this CD. In fact, I gave it a really big build up (not something I usually do) before I opened the case with a flourish and...

discovered that the CD inside the case was a copy of Puccini's La Boheme.

After the requisite weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, we settled down to enjoy some other Foster music I had happily picked up. (It's amazing to listen to his work and to realize how many of these melodies have seeped into your consciousness over the years.) I'll return the CD to our library this week, so they can send it back to the lending library that provided it, hopefully with a note for them to check their Puccini. I'm hoping it's a case of simple mix-up and we can still check out Pa's Fiddle Band.

Meanwhile, I'll keep being grateful that mistakes like that are rare, and try not to take our library system for granted!


Erin said...

Aw, bummer! Yet I have to giggle too - especially since I once bought a used copy of the Crocodile Hunter movie for a buck at the nearby video store and wound up with the movie Croupier instead. And since I didn't get around to watching it until months later, I was kinda out of luck... :-P

Beth said...

Hee! I know...we've had this CD for several days, and I just got around to opening it. Sometimes I think I am being positively silly to double-check my CDs and DVDs before I put them in the return drop at the library, but I'm hoping to avoid just this sort of scenario -- either mixing discs up or returning an empty case!