The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is unusual for lots of reasons. Its books tend to have more pictures--after all what's a book on Martha Graham or Ethel Merman without a peek? And it contains no novels but copious collections of sheet music, dance notation, and dramas. Another of its distinctions--to this observer at least-- is as the library with the loudest librarians, conscientious professionals who unfailingly answer every whispered inquiry with a booming, stentorian (and no doubt helpful) reply. (It must be the inner performer coming out.) These days the librarians have much to shout about because the Performing Arts Library is also one of those places where the evidence of information digitization is most apparent. The shelves are emptier than ever. That old analog stuff, like vinyl? Oh yes they can take that away from you. Below is part of the notice of sale for treasure seekers:
"The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded sound has 22,000 LPs with your name on them. Whether you are a hardcore collector of foreign classical releases, lover of 70s country music, Funk aficionado, or devotee of Ronald Reagan's spoken work, stop in anytime between August 8th and August 10th to get your paws on your sonic favorites known and yet to be discovered. All genres and styles represented. The pricing is simple: cheap, cheap, cheap!"
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