Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Card Catalogues

Phew! Now that I've effectively dragged you against your will into the cellar with me, halting all conversation and thereby proving that I'm not the only one intimidated by the dark, I shall now divert us all with something totally banal.

A few days-off ago, I went to the library. The library I went to as a child is still the library I borrow from as an adult, but as I don't have reason to go to that corner of the county very often, I hadn't actually been there in years. It didn't help that I keep losing my library card, either.

That day I decided I hadn't been reading lately because nothing was inspiring me, so I had best hie myself over there and find something that would. This morning, being the dawn of another day off, my mind automatically turned to the library as I catalogued my options for activity for the day. As I was contemplating the library in general, I started reminiscing and I thought to myself:

Does anyone else remember when books were not electronically tagged? Do you remember when you had to sign a card that they kept in a box, and they stamped the due date in a little envelope glued to your book which was a lot easier to reference than a receipt you could lose? But how on earth did they make sure books didn't go walking without being genuinely checked out, when they didn't have those scanner things at the door that beep if you try to leave with an illicitly borrowed book?

Also, does anyone remember card catalogues? I hated those things. Mostly because to me they meant research, and I don't like research. Plus you had to flip through so much stuff before you found what you were looking for. But they were attractive pieces of furniture. I remember when libraries tried to sell theirs off. I thought it would be nice to buy one, except what in the world would you do with such a thing? It's big and unwieldy and even if you could find an infinitessimal number of tiny things with which to fill the long but tiny drawers, there were all those metal rods running down the middle of each one, that the cards used to ride on. I like to imagine making useful things out of formerly-useful other things, but I have yet to come up with anything that could possibly render a defunct card catalogue as useful for anything other than taking up space.

Not that I have one, but any suggestions? Or does anyone care to submit more reminiscences of obsolete articles?


L.L. Barkat said...

They would make cool seed savers, or maybe tool organizers.

Annelise said...

I'm curious. Has the library renovation been completed? And yes, I remember all those obsolete things since I am much older than you! I love the library, and as a kid used to bike a couple of miles every week and fill the two baskets that flanked my back tires to the brim with books. As far as use for library card catalogues--no idea what to do with them unless you're a serious embroiderer and have thousands of colours of floss to organize....

Heather said...

So I have to say that I do find all the electronicness easier. But I love card catalogs and I miss them, even if I do think it's best not to have them back. I miss feeling the paper as my fingertips shuffle through them. I miss the smell. (And I like research, so I don't have those bad memories nagging me.) Maybe I'm weird or old fashioned.

GreekGeek said...

I can't say as that I'm missing card catalogues, and doing what I'm doing, I think I'm much happier being able to do internet searches at any moment without leaving my desk (of course, I might be in better shape if I did leave my desk occasionally...)

On an entirely different, unrelated, and potentially useless note, I saw a sign yesterday for a "fully furnished coffee shop" for rent. And my genius mind instantly jumped to the right conclusion: you should move over here, open it up, and make a go of it. Despite having several coffee shops here, there's a distinct dearth of "cool" ones. Come on, you know you want to.... =]

Jenn said...

LL--leave it to you to think of that. You're absolutely right.

Mom--if we're talking about the same library, I'm pretty sure the renovation was completed a couple of years ago. It looks really nice, although I have to say the kids' section is now a disappointment.

Heather--I'm with you about the smell thing.

Mariam--of course I want to. And then I could ship over a card catalogue and keep all my different types of coffee beans in it. How was this not immediately apparent?

jasdye said...

o my gosh.

that's what my wife can use for her jewelry. she loves her some bracelets and necklaces.