Wednesday, April 6

Ode to the Card Catalog

Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library

Remember those huge cabinets full of tiny drawers that held thousands of cards each representing a book? Remember Dewey and his decimal system? Remember every year in school your whole class would go to the library and the librarian would teach everyone how to look up books whether you needed a refresher course or not? Remember about that same time, you would also go to computer class once a week and the teacher would tell you that one day everyone would have a computer in their homes and that we would use them to do everything from sending mail, to getting the news, to shopping, and we all said, "Yeah right, not me!"?

Ah, the good old days...

I received an email from my library thins morning, and in it they talked about the book sale that will be going on next week. There was a line at the bottom of the section that said in addition to books and  multi-media, they would also be having a silent auction for the old card catalogs, and it made me sad. (Well, happy in that I have always wanted one, but sad in representation.) We are in an electronic age, which is by no means a bad thing, but it makes me wonder what is next. How long until the books are gone from the libraries too? I'm sure that eventually, most if not all books will be in electronic form only. We may be a good while of from that, but it makes you think.

There may not be many of them left out there, but I am determined to get my hinds on a card catalog one of these days come hell or high water! I will go to the sale at the library, but silent auctions are never good news for someone like me. There is always someone there who can pay more than me, and more often than not, it is someone who is going to turn around and sell it on line(...anyone else see the subtle irony there?) for even more money and not even really appreciate it! Bah!

Now this guy is awesome, and can out-bid me any day! His name is George Brooks-Hutton and he is a woodworker who has done wonders with the catalogs he got from the University of California at Berkeley.

If anyone knows where I can find one - not the huge monsters that take up a wall, but one of the smaller variety - please let me know!

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