Gone but Not Forgotten - Those Circulation Cards


Interesting essay by Robert Klose in the Christian Science Monitor about the elimination of circulation cards with borrowers names and addresses.

The author laments their passing (for privacy reasons) as they once were the source of a short but interesting correspondence for him on the subject of early European migration.


Although the use of those telling circulation cards was discontinued, they were not, for some reason, removed from the books.Ok, his campus library has only 18,000 volumes. But still, librarians have better things to do than remove cards.And I've never seen a library that stamps patron addresses. Every library I used had you sign the card and then had a signature file with your address.And the librarian who said "privacy" is just plain lying. The short and sweet answer is "automation." Privacy is just a welcome benefit. And one whose importance is demonstrated by this very essay.

I'm in Robert Klose's camp, though I must admit that I'm with you Grumpy Librarian, that I've never seen addresses written on any of those slips! Addresses would be to close to the bone for even me, but I did like seeing those names and found it quite interesting to see who - usually of my parent's peers - had read the very book I was now reading.

My late mother, who was an avid reader, used to get a chuckle in her later years when she's go to check out a book and find she'd read it before!

I'll admit, I like the personal touch of seeing who else might share my interests. And as for the author's little one liner mini reviews, I think I'd enjoy reading those even more...now, couple the two together and there might even be a mini book group in the making. ;-)

I got into librarianship years ago by selling books to school libraries. While waiting to meet with the librarian at my former junior high school, I spent a few moments looking over hte books shelves. A book caught my eye, "The Right Dog for Joe," and I pulled it out and found it was familiar. My name was the last one on the check-out card, and no one had read it in the past fifteen years.
Some years ago when used books began to be sold on the Internet, I entered the title to see how extensive those services are. Someone had it, and it was the first thing I had ever purchased over the World wide web. It is still a good book. It is curious how a chain of events can be started by the check-out card.

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