At the library:

My displays of books and music (I’ve now done several) are hardly huge successes. Sometimes, the items sit there for days without anyone checking them out. Many never get checked out. One becomes philosophical about it and learns to appreciate the small victories. For instance, I realized that though many books in my display of short stories remained unwanted, two by Alice Munro and two by P.G. Wodehouse had circulated. Triumph! On the last day of my Lincoln display, an old man finally checked out the book that had inspired the display in the first place, Abe by David Reynolds. A girl of 10 or 11 walked up to the front desk to check out a recording of Beethoven’s Fifth from my display. She had never heard it before.

During the curating portion of my Beethoven display (the items were gathered from libraries throughout the county system), I discovered that the county owned just a single old copy of the complete symphonies in stereo. (And that had gone missing; it never made it to my display. It did show up later.) Through a byzantine process, I was eventually able to request a complete set of the symphonies for our branch. This set (led wonderfully by Daniel Barenboim) was put on an evaluators’ list offering it to other branches. Nine of them bit. The county library system will now have 10 sets of the complete symphonies because of me. Makes me smile.

My old life and my new one keep colliding. I picked up a volume of the new 2023 edition of the World Book encyclopedia the other day, just to test it out. It was sitting on a cart in the staff area, waiting to be processed. Let’s see if they have anything to say on Pierre Monteux, I thought. Sure enough, there was a nice little entry on him, mentioning his musical style, the premiere of The Rite of Spring, the various positions he held. It was well done. I checked to see if the article was signed. In small letters at the bottom I was delighted to read “Martin Bernheimer” — my old teacher, boss and friend

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