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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14 thoughts on “The Quiet Beauty of Library Cards

  1. Marvelous! How interesting and kinda voyeuristic, peeking into the book histories and goings-on over at the local library! Love this! Side note: Have you read JJ Abram’s book “S”? It’s still sitting in my TBR pile but SO incredible to just leaf through. It’s a “library book” that has been passed between 2 people who keep leaving notes for each other in the margins. There are all sorts of things stuck in between the pages: postcards, napkins, newspaper clippings.

    • OH. M. GEE. I gotta gets me that book. It sounds fabulous!!! I have a collection of books about books. It’s my favorite type of book to read.

      For anyone reading in . . . it’s about:

      The chronicle of two readers finding each other, and their deadly struggle with forces beyond their understanding–all within the margins of a book conceived by Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and written by award-winning novelist Doug Dorst.

      The book: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V.M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

      The writer: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumors that swirl around him.

      The readers: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

      S. contains 22 inserts delivered in a sealed slipcase.

      https://www.amazon.com/S-J-Abrams/dp/0316201642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475024003&sr=8-1&keywords=s+novel

  2. How fun was this? Funny how you forget all about some things from your childhood, and images like these bring you right back! My favorite is the “Gulliver’s Travels” card because it looks exactly like the ones I used to sign to check out books in elementary school, Courier font and all. 🙂

  3. Love this! LOL I always wondered what would happen if I lost the due date card. I never dared to use it as a bookmark or anything. Was there such a thing as library jail? I didn’t want to find out. I love how everything was paper–including my library card. I was kind of proud when it got so mangled I had to get a new one. I’d sign my name so carefully…

  4. Love this post, Julie, and the graphics with it. How fun. I think if I did around in the chest in the living room, I will find my late husband’s library card in with many of his childhood papers, including report cards. Think I’ll pour a glass of wine and start searching. Always look forward to this blog hop!

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