Disneyworld For The Soul

I’ve written before about how much I love the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Tonight, I’m going to do it again.

3 floors of open stacks. 9 floors of closed stacks. Books, magazines, CDs, videotapes, DVDs, video games, audiobooks, graphic novels, downloadable books- on-MP3, as well as a variety of other online resources. Research librarians who can answer just about any question. An electric piano that you can play, with headphones. Coffee. A window that looks out into a room with dinosaur skeletons. It’s like someone sat down and specifically designed the building in which I would most like to be trapped overnight.

The amazing thing about the Carnegie, to me, is that whenever I feel the urge to look, I find some resource they have that I didn’t even know existed before.

[caption id=“attachment_1500” align=“alignright” width=“199” caption=”My latest folly”]My latest folly[/caption]I tend to rotate hobbies through my life every few years. My most recent hobby has been trying, probably in vain, to learn to play the guitar. I knew, in the back of my mind, that the Carnegie Library had an entire room of stacks devoted to musical scores. So as I’ve been learning, I’ve been trying to use the stacks to find pieces that I like, such as the recently-mentioned Vivaldi Largo in D-Major for Lute.

On the way to the stacks this weekend, I saw a set of shelves off to one side, with a modest collection of what looked like scores. But why were they off to the side? I went to investigate.

They were indeed musical scores. But not on paper. Instead, they were folders containing scores on CD-ROM; for example, I’m looking at the moment at a CD- ROM that contains the complete violin parts to 81 orchestral pieces by Mozart and Haydn. This is part of The Orchestra Musician’s CD-ROM Library.

Now, true, there is nothing about this collection that is technically specific to the library; you can buy these sorts of things at Amazon, and presumably have been able to for years. If anything, it’s yet another indication that I’m ignorant of many, many things. But the point is that the library is where I learned these things exist. The library is a nexus of serendipity, a building created to allow happy coincidences of discovery to occur.

It is an amusement park for the mind, and I am madly in love with it.