The Library Card Catalog

When I go to the library to find a specific book, I go to a computer terminal and type in the search criteria.

But it wasn’t always that way.

The library’s list of books used to be on index cards.  They were often typed with a manual typewriter, and dog-eared from all the fingers going through them.

The books all had a pocket either on the inside front cover or the inside back cover.  You wrote your name on the card, the librarian date stamped it, then filed it away.  And you went home to read the book (or stack of books).

I was hunting down when the index card was invented and ran across A Short History of Index Cards.  What’s really interesting is the man who invented the Dewey Decimal System thought eventually everything would go digital.  And now you have to read the article so can see what date he made this prediction.  Astounding!

4 thoughts on “The Library Card Catalog

  1. Pagadan August 11, 2018 / 10:02 pm

    I remember the cards and the pockets in the books. It was interesting to learn the book’s history.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pearl R. Meaker August 12, 2018 / 7:02 am

    Fascinating! In many ways I miss the cards and their cabinets full of tiny long drawers. I find I’m beginning to miss the more tactile elements of life that the computer age is eliminating.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pearl R. Meaker August 12, 2018 / 7:03 am

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    A fascinating stroll through our memories of card files. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Peggy August 16, 2018 / 12:49 pm

    It kind of hurts to see this tagged “historical.” I know it is, but suddenly I feel old. SIGH

    In the same spirit, does anyone else remember the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature? That was a primary research source for a lot of essays I wrote before high school.


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