Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Card catalogs...

This morning, someone posted this on my Facebook feed.

Talk about a blast from the past!

There was a time in my life when I used the card catalog extensively.  I have always loved books and that meant I loved libraries, too.  I remember going to the library and poring over the card catalog, trying to find something interesting to read.  Now, here I sit, not remembering the last time I used the Dewey Decimal System.  I didn't even use it much when I was a graduate student.  Even in the late 90s and early 00s, one could find information online.  It's really changed the world in amazing ways.

I'd be interested in knowing if kids today learn about the Dewey Decimal System the way my generation did.  I want to say there was even a Schoolhouse Rock episode about it... or something of a similar vein.  I seem to remember watching animated videos about how the library works.  There was even a catchy tune I can almost hear in my head, though time has mostly erased the memory.

I had a favorite section of the library.  I used to read a lot of books in the 636 section as well as the 610s.  I read a lot of books about horses and medicine.  I spent hours sitting in empty carrels or at tables, engrossed in reading. 

I don't even remember the last time I visited a library.  It's really a shame.  The last time I went into a library was probably during our last tour in Stuttgart, when I visited the library on post to check out DVDs and the odd library book.  I remember reading both Rue McClanahan's and Chuck Barris's life stories in actual books, which the library at Patch Barracks had available at the time.  I also remember going there to use their computers, since we were living in a WiFi-less hotel for weeks and my own computer was in storage.  I used Bill's laptop to watch DVDs I checked out from Patch's library while I killed time in the cramped and dirty hotel room...

I never have written extensively about our weeks in the Vaihinger Hof, the shitty hotel we called home for about six weeks in 2007.  It's a shame I wasn't blogging in those days, because that was quite an interesting experience.  The hotel, which I'm not even sure operates anymore, was then run by a man from Montenegro.  I think he has since sold the hotel.  It was a pretty dumpy place in 2007, but it was cheap and within easy walking distance of Patch Barracks.  

I remember walking down Katzenbacher Strasse to get to Patch and hitting the Class VI store for chocolate, wine, and whatever else.  The people who ran that hotel were like family, even though the ceiling in our bathroom was moldy and the carpets were filthy.  It's hard to believe that was ten years ago.  I think you'd be hard pressed to find a hotel without WiFi in Germany nowadays.  I see our old digs get one star on Holiday Check.  However, the Greek restaurant there (which was German when we were there in 07 and Asian before that), gets great marks.

Anyway... back to the card catalog.  I suppose they must still exist.  I know some people have repurposed them into home furnishings the way one might repurpose an old church pew or apothecary bottles.  One need only consult Pinterest for ideas.  Even if I had one, though, I'm not sure how I'd use it other than to create yet another dust collector.  I keep thinking I'd like to have more decorative home furnishings, but I am a terrible housekeeper and not that artsy when it comes to interior design.  

It always amazes me the things that were once so important to learn about and how to use.  When I was a child, everyone learned cursive.  We all learned how to use Microfiches and card catalogs.  We learned how to write letters and send them in the mail.  I used to write checks and visit the bank and the post office.  I don't do those things anymore.  I didn't even become proficient on computers until I was in graduate school.  At that time, I was in my late 20s.  It's amazing how much things have changed and how much they will change as time passes.  

I suspect later I may be back with some bitching.  For now, I will once again muse about how old I'm getting.  And how old Bill's kids are now... the younger one turns 24 today and has a baby.  One of my younger friends became a grandma last week.  Before I know it, I'll be a senior citizen.  


  1. I think they all use the Library of Congress indexing system now instead of the old Dewey decimal System. I don't know why they changed.

    1. I wouldn't even know. :-( I really need to go back to the library and check it out.


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