Thursday, November 03, 2016

Throwback Thursday
Believe it or not, life existed before computers. 

Radical idea, I know. 

My public library took a picture of our library card alongside the book information. I have no idea how they sorted those records. I always imagined someone sitting in the basement going through rolls and rolls of microfilm in order to determine that I had, in fact, not returned Annie Oakley: Little Sure Shot.  

In middle school, each book had a card, and students would fill out their name and homeroom. Books were filed by due date, and dutifully moved if a book were renewed. To find overdue books, we would type a list from the cards remaining in the oldest dates. There was no good way to check if someone had an overdue book except these typed lists, so they were very carefully kept. 

No idea how they did it in high school. For reasons I can't even remember (probably something to do with the fact we could only come to the library from study hall 4 days a week-- I lived in the library in middle school), I was tremendously irritated by the high school librarians, so I spent four years borrowing books without checking them out. I returned every one of them. Such a rebel!
When I was in college, there was a system that used McBee cards. Instead of having one card for every book , a patron would fill out a card for every book checked out. The cards were filed by call number, not due date.College loans were longer than two weeks, but every so often we would use a stiletto to put through one of the holes in the cards. We would shake them, and the books that were due that day would fall out. We could then call the patron or type up an overdue notice to send in the mail. 

Struggles with Destiny? Taking too long to e mail those overdue notices home? Ha! Computers make things much easier, but I often wish that they didn't exist!


  1. Anonymous9:53 AM EDT

    I often yearn for the time before computers too. They make our work easier but, in a lot of ways, life was better.

  2. I really enjoyed using the card catalog growing up, and even now when I see one for sale, I have this urge to buy it.