I popped by the main branch of the Greenville County Library this morning, ostensibly to see if they had a recording of Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, since I’m performing it in two weeks. As frequently happens when I visit, I find other things that catch my attention. This time it was a set of CDs from the “Southern Journey” collection, which included Sacred Harp Singing, Georgia Sea Island Songs, and other folk singing.
As I picked up the CDs, I thought I might see if the library had any copies of Gretchen Robinson’s documentaries. Gretchen had made two award-winning documentaries – one on Daufuskie Island entitled “Everything Change Up Now”, and one on the snake handlers of Appalachia entitled “The People Who Take Up Serpents.” “Everything Change Up Now” was available on DVD in regular circulation, but the other one was in the South Carolina Room, in the archives section. This is where things started to get weird.
First, the dilemma – the DVD I wanted was in the archives, which meant that it couldn’t be checked out, only viewed in the South Carolina Room. The problem is that they have no way to view DVDs in the South Carolina Room. So, basically they have a DVD in their archives which their policies will not allow anyone to view.
Fortunately, the library staff was very understanding and recognized this as an untenable situation. They allowed me to check out the DVD for 48 hours, and said that they would look into making some method of viewing available. I guess if I had brought my laptop with its DVD player, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but I didn’t know to do that. Since this is in digital format already, it seems they could make it available for digital check-out, like they do for many of their audio books.
As I was waiting for all this to get sorted out, I picked up a random book that had caught my eye off the end of a shelf. The book was entitled “Life Sketches and Sermons” by N. J. Holmes, founder of Holmes Bible College in Greenville. I opened to a random page, and there was my grandmother’s name.
The other name highlighted at the top of the page is the missionary for whom my father is named. I flipped through some other pages, and found one that had by my grandmother and grandfather’s names.
Oddly enough, my grandmother was mentioned frequently as a teacher at the college. However, this page was the only reference to my grandfather.
So, I came away with references to my family, as well as some interesting CDs and DVDs. I think it was a very successful trip.