Library card catalog
Library Card.

When I started using my local library as a kid, we didn’t have library cards. Instead, in the back of every book was a one card held in a sleeve and another taped to the book. When you wanted to check out a book you’d take it to the desk, and they’d pull out the card and you would sign your name on it, and then they would stamp it with that day’s date. Then on the paper stuck inside the book they would make a stamp with a date for 2 weeks from that day. They would keep the card I signed, and I would have a stamp in the book I took with me as a reminder when it was due.

I don’t think the Young Adult section of my library was much used. There were books I loved that had my name over and over in a list because I was the only one that ever checked them out.

In the summer time I would ride my bike 5 miles to town every Saturday with a backpack full of books, return them, and then spend a few hours looking for more, fill up my backpack, and ride home.

I couldn’t fit a whole week’s worth of books in my bag though, so I’d often run out of reading material on Wednesday or Thursday evening.

A very fond memory is one time when my mom took my sisters with her for a week to Camp. My mom was camp nurse. I was deemed too young to stay home alone, so I went with my dad to work. He worked at the county courthouse, right downtown, which also happened to house… The Library. So I got to spend all day every day for a WEEK in the library.

Satellite view of Harrisville MI
Click for large version

Now keep in mind our town was VERY small. 500 people. And it was the county seat because it was the biggest town in the county. We had The Stoplight. So the front yard of the courthouse was a huge lawn with a few dozen trees, each well over 100 years old. So when I needed to get out of the library I simply went out and sat in the shade for a while. It was delightful.

I loved my library. The smell of old books (bibliosmia!) is forever a happy smell. And while I know it was needed, I was saddened when I learned they moved the library out of the courthouse, to a nice place a few miles outside of town. It doesn’t feel the same having it be someplace other than the center of town. But the new place is bigger, has more books, better internet, and everything a good library needs, so I content myself with that.

When was the last time you were in a library?

4 thoughts on “Old School Library Cards

  1. I loved those cards too. It was fun to check the last time the book had been borrowed, and by whom. I love our town library, and the library of the next town over, both of which I visit pretty regularly. Are you participating in the A-Z challenge this month? I hope so!

  2. I was at a library about 12 days ago that had an active card catalog. I think I was at our local library this past Saturday and am at libraries an average of 3 days a week. I grew up literally across the street from our library and was teased all the time for still having overdues.

  3. I recall at least one library that had that card system. And 3 cents a day fines for overdue books. Though there were special “forgiveness” days when you could return those overdue books in exchange for an hour of volunteer work. (Cleaning, sorting, gardening, etc.)
    Great post! Hopefully you’re enjoying the A to Z Challenge as much as we are this year.
    ~ The Operation Awesome Team

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