Monday, January 12, 2009

Liberated From the Scrap Pile at the Public Library

Card-Catalog

Today, on a trip to my local public library, I discovered that they were using their old card catalog cards as scrap paper. I was heart broken. I felt I just *had* to liberate a few as personal mementos. I looked through about a dozen 3 inch stacks of cards to find some that looked particularly interesting. Most of the titles and authors started with the letter "P".

I guess A-O were already used up. I love that I found the card for Norman Vincent Peale's book, "The Power of Positive Thinking".

I just came to the realization, that most teenagers don't even know what a card catalog is. They just sit down at a computer terminal and click "search" to find what they need.

I started reading at the age of four, and have owned a library card for as long as I can remember. I grew up at a time when they would slip a piece of pink paper into a pocket inside the front cover of the book. These slips of paper would be hand stamped with the due date, and would be re-used as scrap paper when the books were returned. I'm so ancient. :o)

So what will I do with these cards? Not sure yet. I was contemplating painting then with watercolor washes and drawing on them. (Mandalas - could you have guessed?) Or maybe I will leave them intact. Either way, I'm happy to hold them in my hands. To look at the different font types. To turn them over and see the impressions that the typewriter keys made some 30+ years ago. To look at the smoothed and thumb worn edges from thousands of school children that had to find books for school assignments.

{{Sigh}}

7 comments:

sophie said...

These are absolutely beautiful and I love the fact that you rescued them and kept them for yourself. There's something kinesthetically satisfying about them.

TAO said...

I also have an affinity for the day-to-day record of the past, kind of the vernacular history. Even in college I remember finding old boxes full of yellowed papers in basements and enjoying rifling through them. The only problem is where to store things like that (and justifying doing so!)

Biffybeans said...

Thanks Sophie!

Tao - that's why I only took a small sampling... I would loved to have taken them all!

hugin said...

Well, I'm only in college, so not quite as young as those you are talking about, but I remember using card catalogs! :) I also remember them smelling awesome. I'm glad you managed to save some... makes me sad to think that they might all be going away now.

JoeZ said...

I too miss the card catalog, I will have to check out the stack of cards and get some to past in my journal.

gypsy said...

I so understand your love of these cards, the feel and texture, the fonts. The immense difference between these well worn cards and a digital line on a screen...

diysara said...

I think about this ... my father is a retired librarian and I miss the aesthetic feeling of "going to the library"... the papers, cards, stamps.

You could always frame them and hang them in a cluster arrangement. Nothing better for starting up conversations when you have guests :D

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