Cataloging in the 21st Century

Sheenah Archive, Books, My Life 4 Comments

Weekly World News

Why did we decide it was a good thing to start listening to this?

Ah, the 21st century. Remember back in 2000 when we all thought the world was going to end? I watched the adults freak out about how computers wouldn’t be able to register that ’00’ 2000 and computers would assume that ’00’ was a master reset number and we’d all be living in the Dark Ages again. That year, the world came together and we all celebrated New Year’s with relief. (And personally, I think it would be cool if we could have live broadcasts of everyone celebrating again. France, you guys win for best display. Seriously.)

After the Y2K drama, we all settled down and you would think that the adults would have realized that we were way too dependent on technology even then. But instead someone said technology would help save the trees! And let’s face it, we all want to save the trees, right? Letters became emails. Books became ebooks. And before any of that happened, libraries decided it would be best to digitize their card catalogs.


Remeber filling these out?

Yes, the card catalogs. If you can remember a time when you had to open a drawer full of index cards then congratulations. You’re practically a dinosaur according to the teeny tots running around now who are constantly plugged in. (I swear, I saw 2 year-old working a smart phone like he owned it. That can’t be healthy.) I understand the convenience of digitizing the catalog system. I’ve been known to go to the library website to see if they have a book in so I knew whether it was worth the cost of gas to drive down there. But I remember the day when my school librarian in elementary school taught us how to use card catalogs. To actually physically see all the cards there and realize there’s that many books located all around you is almost mind blowing. Where does a bibliophile start? I felt so proud of myself every time I could successfully locate a book using the system and then I had to print my name onto another card to check it out. Important stuff when you’re like 6.

Now that everything is digitized, you won’t know that there’s a cute boy who has taken an interest in you and is trying to catch your attention by checking out every single book before you so you see his name every single time.


True love. Really.

Comments 4

  1. Ha haaaa! I do remember card catalogs too. I used to check out every Nancy Drew book, in order, & would get so agitated if the branch didn’t own the next copy in the series. This was before inter-library loans were to easy; it could mean waiting weeks. So I had to skip sequence several times. Kids today won’t know that frustration, lolz… not sure if that’s good or bad, but I look back on that time fondly. It was about owning your library.

    Andi-Roo /// @theworld4realz

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      I never got to use the card catalog at the main library. At least, I don’t recall. But I owned the school library. My librarian loved me and let me borrow extra books. ^_^

  2. Oooh, there was just something so cool about pulling open those silently, gliding drawers of the card catalog. I felt smarter just by doing it. Computerized everything is pretty great, but I feel pretty nostalgic about some of the olden-day things like card catalogs … and real books instead of digital.
    Great post.

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  3. When I was 10 years, I used to take my two sisters to the library every afternoon after school. There, we found our entertainment. I helped stamp the books and learned a few of the catalogue skills. Once a week, they’d show cartoons upstairs. The days before television entertainment. Who can say if the old days were better?

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