I have always enjoyed the version conducted by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on the RCA Victor "Living Stereo" Series. Worth checking out.
Many great ones available which are better than versions at your library, for CD I recommend:
Gergiev / Phillips
Newest serious contender, very energetic version with great sound
Mackerras / Telarc
This probably best sound of any tremendous dynamic range and lush soundscape, also includes great version "capriccio espagnol"
Beecham / EMI GROTC
Remaster of classic account reveals new insights, magical account
Kondrashin / Phillips 50 Great Recordings
Another remaster of classic account making it even better
Reiner / RCA Living Stereo
Another very good version close to the best.
Try the Rostropovich conducting Paris Orchestra. EMI
A Japanese music magazine rated it the highest in CD format. I can see why.
The recording engineer was Paul Vavasseur, caught every changing color and expressions from the orthestra. By the way, the also phenomenal Beecham - Symphonie Fantastique was recorded by him.
By far my favorite is the circa 1979 DG recording by Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa. They get the timing right and dynamically make the music swing in just the right places when it needs to. Plus there is no better, longer, more impactive horn climax (the shipwreck)of any recording. Also, Silverstein's violin is patient. The Orchestra never rushes the tempo nor is it too drawn out and languid. Just right. I also saw the performance from the second row center in Symphony Hall that season and got completely caught up in the music, even though it was Friday afternoon and all the ladies groups were there to see and be seen.
If I were to narrow my own list of 5 down to one must have account it would be difficult since they each have thier own strong points, but my choice is:
*** Beecham / EMI (Great Recorings of the Century) ***
Beecham is a master of painting tonal colors best at capturing the magic and mystery of this enchanting tale, there is a hint of jasmine in the air as you are carried away by tale of "1001 Nights" The storm/shipwreck sequence has impressive power and savage fury which is hard to match.
The only slight negative is this is 1958 recording and the orchestral climaxes are a bit strained/ragged, better now with new ART remaster but noticeable compared to modern recording. There is also excellent version of Borodin's "polovtsian dances" included but again same issues with sound quality. This is minor point and doesn't keep me from playing this set again and again.
By comparison the Mackerras/Telarc has fabulous lush modern Telarc sound that is quite impressive demonstration class, but does not capture the magic mood as effectively as Beecham.
It's my understanding (just "the rumor," I guess) that he didn't fit the mold of what they were looking for off the podium as it were. I heard the last straw was when he stood up for the players who refused to take their best instruments out for a performance in inclement weather.
All I know is that he had quite an ear and musical mind. I thought his performance of "Pictures at an Exhibition" with a student group (North Texas State U.) beat the pants off of the DSO with Eduardo Mata which I had heard some weeks prior.
I think it's a shame he never caught on with one of the big US orchestras. It's their loss IMO.
Back on track, he plays a nice Scheherazade as concert master on the Ormandy recording.