Library check-out card tees



Sadly this just reminds me that the libraries I go to no longer use check-out cards. Check-out information is printed as a receipt, or can be e-mailed. It’s a shame they’re going the way of card catalogs.

Years ago the library where I work finally tore out its old card catalog, which was a gorgeous structure that took up an entire wall. Staff took the old cards. I had stacks and stacks that I used for notes. Below is a picture of the last ones I have left. I can’t bring myself to do anything with 'em.


Spawning a huge list of terrible pick-up lines…


I work for an agency that has a card catalog (aka “the shelflist”) with a goodly amount of really, really old cards, circa late 1800s and on. It’s actually still used for reference although I believe the project to digitize the thing is nearing completion…
And like @SpunkyTWS above, I find card catalogs to be beautiful things even though I’m not sure whether it’s the cards or the physical card catalog structure that generates said mental lift.


A library card then, literacy and the like; would I be blind or insistently pedantic in not noticing an apostrophe in “Borrower[’]s Name” in the design here, or is this just retrowiping memories’ requirement for and use of same?

Card catalogs were fun – but check-out cards can be used to track readers. Librarians are very concerned about that sort of thing.

One of my fave tees from the Unshelved webcomic:

(They have a bunch of other great tees for library lovers - definitely check them out.)


That haunted library scene from Ghostbusters just wouldn’t have had the same punch if it had been computer terminals flashing a bunch of random catalogue entries.


You need this tee shirt. It might make you feel better about the octopus t-shirt incident.


Yup. First thing that crossed my mind was “Hey, check me out!”

Check-out cards were fun too. I liked seeing the history of a particular book. Sometimes you’d know some of the previous borrowers (I always seemed to be more excited about his than they were. “Look, I got the same copy of Moby Dick you did!”)

But what was really nifty was when you got a book that hadn’t been checked out in thirty years. Name written in fountain pen with archaic handwriting, subtly different date stamp… It’s hard to describe. One felt aware of one’s place in time. There was a lot packed into that feeling.


I still like looking at the date-stamps, if they’re present, wondering about the jammed-together sequences, and the gaps. What made people interested\disinterested?

Circulation slip with stamps from 1960 to 1987.
From the front matter of English Traditional Songs and Carols edited by Lucy Etheldred Broadwood (1908).
Original from Harvard University.
Digitized November 6, 2007.

Circulation slip in pocket.
From the back matter of School Gymnastics, Free Hand: A System of Physical Exercises for Schools
by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft (1896). Does not include metadata indicating library of origination or date of digitization (but does include Stanford library artifacts).

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.