The Quiet Beauty of Library Cards

Beginning with the not-so-quiet command from the Chicago Public Library, DO NOT LOSE THIS CARD, I have to wonder . . . what’ll happen if I lose this card? And did they know way back then that typing in ALL CAPS would some day be considered shouting? I mean, my gosh. Quiet voices people.

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Love the paper airplanes covered with words. Look closely. Made from paper from the card catalogue? No? An index, maybe? Far more interesting than a plain-piece-of-paper paper airplane. I have a scene in my next book about paper airplanes made from the pages of a book. 

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And then there’s this. From a time when familial status followed you everywhere. Wonder why Mrs. English needed goggles. To spy on the family living on the other side of the number 19? And, okay, fine. Maybe it’s technically not a library card. But she did check something out . . . AFTER having to disclose her marital status and the quantity and age of her three children. Although, I’m glad she didn’t give the precise dates of birth for her two dependent children. Because why is that important? They’re just goggles.

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Love that the lawless vandal seeking to destroy public property doodled a girl with the same physical aesthetics of the time. Barbie made her début at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. I’d love to see the dates further down the card because I think Barbie was on the mind of the criminal who committed this senseless act of fashion graffiti against the library filing system. I mean, my gosh. The card clearly had to be cancelled after THAT happened.

*sigh*

 

What is this world coming to . . . people doodling on an envelope.

I wonder if the woman drawn on the card enjoyed reading Gulliver’s Travels. By the expression on her face, I think not. And I wonder if Barbie was ever issued a library card. She probably was. That chick’s done it all.

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AND WAIT. WHAT?!?

IS THAT?!?

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Okay, so this next one’s a bit odd. November 14, 184- something. I can’t make out what that number is. But it’s a good thing no one drew a Barbie face on this Pennsylvania Hospital Medical Library Privilege Certificate. If you read the fine print at the bottom, penalties were stiff back then.

Lessons from the Pennsylvania Hospital? Do what the librarian tells you. Librarians are badass.

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I love this next one. I’d hang it on my wall if I could. The colors, the cascading shapes the date stamps make. There’s a quiet beauty found in simple instructions.

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And what’s this? A librarian in a library made a library card about a library?

How meta.

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But seriously, really. This next one? Not lying: If I were a librarian, I’d spend like ALL DAY trying to figure this one out.

No. 306?

No . . . maybe No. 307 is better.

It’s ruled like No. 306, but with BLUE lines . . . Hm.

Maybe I should go with No. 311. No. 311 doesn’t have lines. But wait. Do I want lines?

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Not much to say about his next one except THANKS, Peabody Visual Aids. I was wondering what the

CATALOG CARD

was trying to tell us.

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So enough about how the system works.

Let’s look at this next one: Camus, Albert. Born 1913.

Errrrrr, ummmm, well. Golly gee. I almost feel bad for the poor chap. Seems someone went in with a blue pen to update the card . . .

Know this: Librarians are thorough.

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This final library card is my favorite. Why? Because Jerome David S. wrote one of my all-time favorite books. Like, EVER. I even named my first son after the main character in the book referenced on this card. (First daughter? She’s named after Jane Austen’s Emma.)

The quiet beauty of this library card?

The brief, blissful moments of happiness I feel every time I look at it. The feeling of urgent importance in the words DO NOT DISCARD. Because this library card, this quiet, beautiful library card – unlike the blue ink on the ill-fated Albert Camus library card – let’s me pretend this great writer is still alive.

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