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Old 04-06-2010, 04:15 PM
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How Did Library Checkout Work Before Computerizaton?


I can't remember this. Now-a-days the inventory in a library is all on computers. So it's just a scan/bar code type thing.

I'm trying to remember back but I can't be sure.

If I'm not mistaken didn't each book have a card in it. Then the librarian took the card out and put another one in with the date due? But I can't recall how they matched up your card to the book.

If someone could be so kind to let me know how they did it. I'm old enough to remember but I don't
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:20 PM
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You have it right. The library sorted the cards by card catalogue entry number. When you returned it, they found the matching card and out it back on the stacks.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:22 PM
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When I first learned to read, you signed your name on the card in the back of the book, and they stamped the due date on a little sheet of paper glued to the card pocket. The librarian kept the card you had signed and filed it alphabetically under the due date. Later, we had card numbers and you put your card number on the card in the back of the book, but otherwise everything else was the same.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:23 PM
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The books had a card in it, plus a piece of paper attached to it. The library would take the card and file it. It could have been by catalog number in some libraries, but I remember it being filed by library card number (actually, by borrower's name, in our library, but it was very small). It could also be filed by due date to make it easier to see who had to be told that books were overdue.

They would stamp the due date in the back of the book.

Later systems would put a slip instead of stamping.
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Last edited by RealityChuck; 04-06-2010 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:24 PM
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There were several systems, which could involve cards in book pockets and/or library users having cards. One possibility was to have a card in each book, and to take it out, write the user name and/or number on it, together with the due date, and file it behind the circulation desk.

Then there was the problem of what order to file the cards. In order of the call number of the book makes a lot of sense, but what do you do when:
(1) a user calls to ask, "What books do I have out from the library?"
(2) you want to send out notices for the overdue books?
In each case, you need to go through all the book cards -- which takes a long time in a large library.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:26 PM
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At my local library, I also remember the checkout librarian putting both the main card from the book (which had the due date stamped on it) and your library card onto a tray with some kind of camera mounted overhead, and touching a button. The tray/camera device lit up, and made a sound resembling "eee-DURRRRRR-eee". I saw this system in the 1970s and 1980s.

Last edited by elmwood; 04-06-2010 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:28 PM
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When I checked out books as a kid in New York in the 1950s, as I recall they would put the book, open to the card holder page, and your library card together in a machine that would photograph them both together. This would provide their record of who had checked out the book. They would put a stamped card in the pocket in the book to let you know when it was due. IIRC correctly, they retained the card that was in the pocket in the book in a file. (I would guess they were filed by due date.) When you brought the book back, they could find the card in the file to see if it was overdue. They could also look up overdue books and match them to the photo to see who had them out.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:33 PM
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Back in the 1960s I worked in a library that took microfilm of cards from books alongside library cards and a punched card that contained a due date. After the due date the returned punch cards could be sorted to see what books were missing and therefore overdue and then read on the microfilm to produce a match to the card.

You didn't really keep track of what books were out, though. If a book wasn't on the shelf, it wasn't available.

Computers entered the system in the mid-1980s.

I'm sure each library or library system had some individual variation on tracking books to cards before then. Librarians are top-notch at organization.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:33 PM
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The books had a card in it, plus a piece of paper attached to it. The library would take the card and file it. It could have been by catalog number in some libraries, but I remember it being filed by library card number (actually, by borrower's name, in our library, but it was very small). It could also be filed by due date to make it easier to see who had to be told that books were overdue.

They would stamp the due date in the back of the book.

Later systems would put a slip instead of stamping.
But how did they match it up to your particular card? That's what I can't remember. It seems they took the card out of the book. OK fine. Now the librarian has my card and the card from the book. Now I know she didn't write the card number on the card form the book.

I guess that is what I'm not following.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:33 PM
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You've got the basic details right. In the most primitive systems (i.e., like the one in my elementary school library), each book had a card in a pocket inside one of the covers. If you wanted to check out a book, you would take it to the librarian and present it along with your library card. The librarian would copy your name onto the book's card, stamp it and a "due date" card with the appropriate date, put the "due date" card in the book's pocket, give the book to you, and file the book's card away somewhere. When you returned the book, the librarian would find the appropriate card, put it back in the book's pocket, and re-shelve the book.

This would work well if the average patron didn't have a large number of books to check out at once. I would assume that higher-circulation libraries might have had machines that printed your name (or some other identifier) on the book cards, rather than having to write it out by hand a dozen times; however, I don't remember this specifically.

I always remember that the book's cards were kind of fascinating — they were like little personal histories of each book, with a name being added every time it was checked out. With privacy concerns being what they are these days, it seems doubtful to me that such a scheme would be acceptable now.

Last edited by MikeS; 04-06-2010 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:34 PM
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When I checked out books as a kid in New York in the 1950s, as I recall they would put the book, open to the card holder page, and your library card together in a machine that would photograph them both together.
This seems like an awful lot of trouble. Where in NY was this?
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:35 PM
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When I first learned to read, you signed your name on the card in the back of the book, and they stamped the due date on a little sheet of paper glued to the card pocket. The librarian kept the card you had signed and filed it alphabetically under the due date. Later, we had card numbers and you put your card number on the card in the back of the book, but otherwise everything else was the same.
Growing up in a small school district it was interesting to see the names on the card pocket in the book of the people who had checked out the book. You could see upper-classmen, older brothers and sisters, maybe even somebody's parent.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:37 PM
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When I checked out books as a kid in New York in the 1950s, as I recall they would put the book, open to the card holder page, and your library card together in a machine that would photograph them both together. This would provide their record of who had checked out the book. They would put a stamped card in the pocket in the book to let you know when it was due. IIRC correctly, they retained the card that was in the pocket in the book in a file. (I would guess they were filed by due date.) When you brought the book back, they could find the card in the file to see if it was overdue. They could also look up overdue books and match them to the photo to see who had them out.
That sounds really expensive. A photo every time a book was checked out. Were these film cameras?
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:53 PM
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My library card when I was a kid (60s and 70s) had a little metal plate with my name and card number on it. The librarian would put my card and the card from the book pocket into different slots on this big metal machine and pull a lever, making a nice loud "ka-Chunk" sound. In my vague memory, I think what happened there was it applied a bit of ink to the plate on my card, then smashed it into the book's card to stamp my info on it, so they knew I was the one reading Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Football.

Of their filing and tracking system, though, I know not.
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:55 PM
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That sounds really expensive. A photo every time a book was checked out. Were these film cameras?
Sounds like a similar system to what I wrote about. They had cartridges that could just be swapped in and out. I'm remembering them as microfilm, but they could have just taken regular pictures.

You have to balance expense with the ability to use these over an entire library system, which allowed you to return books anywhere and not just at the library you took them out of, the ability to track overdue and missing books, the ability to sort cards to extract data, and probably a whole bunch of things that as a page I don't know about. And it was very fast to use. I could take a stack of books and get them all checked out in a matter of seconds. That had to be helpful.

Now balance that against a hand system, in which every book has to be stamped as it goes out and then matched individually to cards as they get returned. (The punch cards with the due date go to a central sorter to be used over an over.)

The gain in time and efficiency alone was probably worth the expense and being able to better charge for overdue or missing books probably paid for the system all by itself.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:33 PM
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That sounds really expensive. A photo every time a book was checked out. Were these film cameras?
You may be assuming that the film was developed into prints as a matter of course. Processing microfilm into a negative isn't terribly expensive, as things go.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:37 PM
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You may be assuming that the film was developed into prints as a matter of course. Processing microfilm into a negative isn't terribly expensive, as things go.
I was just thinking of the film itself. I seem to recall buying film for my camera was expensive. I guess slow black and white film was not that costly.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:47 PM
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I grew up in Berkeley CA and our public libraries were using the photograph system back in the 1970s (at least).

When I lived in England in 1979-1980 you had library tickets - 5 little tickets with your name on them and you gave one to the librarian for each book that you were checking out. You'd have to return the book to the same branch that you borrowed it from to get your ticket back.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:53 PM
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I was just thinking of the film itself. I seem to recall buying film for my camera was expensive. I guess slow black and white film was not that costly.
That's right -- the film itself, as opposed to the canister it's rolled onto, the box the roll goes in, the inventory space and process involved in keeping it on a photo supply store shelf, etc., is pretty darn cheap. Processing negatives (color or B&W, since even though the chemicals for color are more expensive overall, economies of scale bring th two in line with each other) is fairly cheap. Printing is much more expensive than all that other stuff. And with microfilm, you can get many (thousands?) of book records on the equivalent of a roll of print film.

Film was used for lots of other records-keeping before digitization, in part because it could be done cheaply.

When I was an active photographer in the late 80s ad early 90s, I saved money, as was common, by buying big rolls of (cheap) raw film, cutting it into 36-exposure lengths, and rolling it onto reusable rolls. IIRC, I could special-order a big roll -- they came in metal canisters about 6" across -- for around the cost of two or three rolls of film from the corner store.
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Old 04-06-2010, 06:16 PM
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When I lived in England in 1979-1980 you had library tickets - 5 little tickets with your name on them and you gave one to the librarian for each book that you were checking out. You'd have to return the book to the same branch that you borrowed it from to get your ticket back.
This matches how the local library worked when I was growing up in Scotland. Each book had a little cardboard pocket glued into it, a small card with the details of it tucked into that and a separate sheet glued in the front. Your "library tickets" consisted of several similar cardboard pockets, each with your name on it.
To check out a book, you presented it with a ticket to the librarian. They removed the small card from the pocket in the book and put it in the pocket on the ticket. They then stamped the return date on the sheet in the book and handed it back to you to take away. Your ticket, now holding the card with the book details on it, was then filed in a tray labelled with the return date.
You got your ticket back when you returned the book. The librarian would look at the sheet inside to see the return date and then find the filed ticket in the appropriate tray. The card would go back into the book and they'd hand the empty ticket to you. So usually the only time you were in physical possession of the ticket was while browsing in the library.

The neat aspect was presumably that this made it easy to identify what was overdue - the librarian just had to look at the tickets + cards in the trays for return dates in the past.
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Old 04-06-2010, 06:39 PM
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But how did they match it up to your particular card? That's what I can't remember. It seems they took the card out of the book. OK fine. Now the librarian has my card and the card from the book. Now I know she didn't write the card number on the card form the book.

I guess that is what I'm not following.
The card was designed to be able to write names (in my case) or card numbers (for larger libraries) on it. It was lined and the information was written on each line.

And, yes, you could pick up a book and see who took it out previously.

I think the most likely system would be to put them in a file box by due date. Thus there would be a little divider for each day (in our library, books were borrowed for 14 days maximum, so you'd need only 14 dividers plus some extra for overdues). Within each divider the cards would be sorted by the name or number. If you called to ask how many books you had out (which doesn't seem likely -- you were limited to two), they'd ask the due date or the date you took it out and they could find the information.

I never had a library card, BTW. The librarian knew who I was. She probably knew most of the town on sight.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 04-06-2010 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 04-06-2010, 06:48 PM
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Growing up in a small school district it was interesting to see the names on the card pocket in the book of the people who had checked out the book. You could see upper-classmen, older brothers and sisters, maybe even somebody's parent.
We had that in elementary school. It was fun. Also, in textbooks we used. I remember one kid got the same exact textbook his older sister had used the year before.
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Old 04-06-2010, 06:54 PM
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There's a movie which has a card-based library circulation system as a major plot point: Whisper of the Heart. In it, Shizuku Tsukishima notices that she's borrowing he same library books as another student named Seiji Amasawa. Their relationship develops from their common circulation history.
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:00 PM
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The card was designed to be able to write names (in my case) or card numbers (for larger libraries) on it. It was lined and the information was written on each line.
Is that the purpose of those cards that had those raised metal things? To maybe ink them and stamp them on the card?

To show what I'm talking about, here's a link to a pic:

Old metal-plated library card

(No that's not me. But it looks exactly like my old library card.)
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:14 PM
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My library card when I was a kid (60s and 70s) had a little metal plate with my name and card number on it. The librarian would put my card and the card from the book pocket into different slots on this big metal machine and pull a lever, making a nice loud "ka-Chunk" sound. In my vague memory, I think what happened there was it applied a bit of ink to the plate on my card, then smashed it into the book's card to stamp my info on it, so they knew I was the one reading Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Football.

Of their filing and tracking system, though, I know not.
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Is that the purpose of those cards that had those raised metal things? To maybe ink them and stamp them on the card?

To show what I'm talking about, here's a link to a pic:

Old metal-plated library card

(No that's not me. But it looks exactly like my old library card.)
I remember that system. The machine also took a little chunk off of one side of the card, so that the next time the card was inserted in the machine, it went juuust a little farther, positioning the card so that the next imprint was the right distance below the previous.

That sounds complicated, but it was an ingenious system.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:32 PM
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My library card when I was a kid (60s and 70s) had a little metal plate with my name and card number on it. The librarian would put my card and the card from the book pocket into different slots on this big metal machine and pull a lever, making a nice loud "ka-Chunk" sound. In my vague memory, I think what happened there was it applied a bit of ink to the plate on my card, then smashed it into the book's card to stamp my info on it, so they knew I was the one reading Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Football.

Of their filing and tracking system, though, I know not.
OK this is what they used to do at my library in the 70s when I was a kid. Thank you and thanks for all the other answers too
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:46 PM
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This seems like an awful lot of trouble. Where in NY was this?
Actually, the photograph system was very common, used in libraries all over North America. It wasn't as much trouble as it sounded like. It took only a few seconds per picture, and they were taken on microfilm, so they didn't take up much space.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:13 AM
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Before I opened this thread I didn't feel quite as old as I do now...
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:24 AM
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You've got the basic details right. In the most primitive systems (i.e., like the one in my elementary school library), each book had a card in a pocket inside one of the covers. If you wanted to check out a book, you would take it to the librarian and present it along with your library card. The librarian would copy your name onto the book's card, stamp it and a "due date" card with the appropriate date, put the "due date" card in the book's pocket, give the book to you, and file the book's card away somewhere. When you returned the book, the librarian would find the appropriate card, put it back in the book's pocket, and re-shelve the book.
This was how the public library worked here.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:29 AM
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When they first switched over to computers, Rutgers University library had an IBM card punch machine at the checkouts. When you took out a book they manually punched in the call number on the card, along with your information, then duplicated the card. One went into a stack to be batch-processed in those pre-network days, the other into the card holder glued into the book from pre-computer days. Checking out a stack of books could take a long time. And I kinda miss than quaint Ka-CHUNK, chunka-chunka-chunka-CHUNK of the old IBM card punches. Nowadays they just laser-scan the bar code and it all automatically goes into the system.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:29 AM
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Is that the purpose of those cards that had those raised metal things? To maybe ink them and stamp them on the card?
We didn't have those. In fact, we didn't even have library cards (small town). The librarian (who had been there for years) knew everyone.

This is the type of thing I was talking about.. The due date was stamped as shown, and your name written in. The card would then be filed. I would think it was by due date, since the due date was on the book when it came back.

There was a second slip attached to the book that just had room to stamp the due date. Sometimes it was in the back of the pocket shown in the photo; other times it was a sheet of paper about 3" x 5" with a gummed edge on one of the shorter sides (the top). The librarian would stick this into the book. If it filled up, she'd stick a new one on, often right on top of the old one (or just remove the old one).

You'd hand the librarian the book. She'd (it was always a "she" back then) take out the slip, stamp it with the due date and write in your name (or library card number). She'd then stamp the due date on the slip inside the book. I liked that part of it because you could always find the due date.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 04-07-2010 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:38 AM
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When they first switched over to computers, Rutgers University library had an IBM card punch machine at the checkouts. When you took out a book they manually punched in the call number on the card, along with your information, then duplicated the card.
I worked in two academic libraries in Australia that had similar systems back in the 1970s.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:47 AM
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I always remember that the book's cards were kind of fascinating — they were like little personal histories of each book, with a name being added every time it was checked out. With privacy concerns being what they are these days, it seems doubtful to me that such a scheme would be acceptable now.
I have worked with both systems (if I remember correctly the card one is called the Detroit system). Once when I was checking out books with a microfilm camera the borrower complained that there was no card in one of them and I explained that it happened that they disappear and that we didn't type a new one as we didn't use them (other than when we lent books to branch libraries). Then I got the scolding of my life, because he used them. He always wrote down his number from the old card system days and if he saw it in a book he knew he didn't have to read it again.

I also used to work in small branch that was open just a couple of hours a week, serving the local children. When I was away for a year at library school I was replaced by someone who was absolutely clueless about the card system, so whenever he couldn't find the card immediately when a book was returned he just wrote a new one and placed it in the book. The result was that when I came back I went through overdue loans and sent out loads of reminders to people, who weren't too pleased with it. In the end I had to find all his replacement cards and throw away the extras and after that I went through all books to put the correct cards in them.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:49 AM
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For anyone who may still be wondering, in the small library systems that I remember using as a kid, this is what a typical card would look like and this is the pocket glued inside the book. Alternatively, a temporary due date slip could be glued to the pocket and peeled off whenever it was full.

My elementary school would take the cards and sort them by borrower's name into something like this, with newer cards going at the back, so the top of each pile would be the ones closest to the due dates.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:56 AM
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In the 1970's the library had an electric stamper machine that date stamped the card from the book.
My library card had a metal plate in it that transferred my id # when it was stamped.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-07-2010 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:45 AM
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The other point with the due-date-card and photo system... The due-date cards were basically a punch-card with a serial number and a prestamped due date. The checkout desk had a tray of them, in numerical order, prestamped with the Saturday 2 weeks away, so you had the rest of the week plus 2 weeks.

For checkout, the librarian laid down 3 cards - library card, book pocket card, and the next due-date card from a big tray. Push a button to take a picture. Leave the library card, put other 2 in pocket; repeat for next book for same person. Library card went with the other two in the last book the person checked out.

Because the cards were in order - the roll of film was labelled with start and end cards. Cards were fed through a computer or other gizmo to generate a list of missing sequence cards. Examine the film for that checkout card in sequence, and note details. If book is returned in time no need to look at the film; retuned late, cross the due-date card number/ book off the missing/overdue list.

Every so often people forgot to take their library card out of the pocket before returning their books...

There are some interesting tricks you can do with punch cards that do not require a fancy computer; I'm sure you can imagine, creating a machine that you set to a specific number, feed sorted cards into it, and it tells you which cards in the sequence are missing... Sorting cards is trivial and every computer shop in those days had a mechanical card sorter. (Sort by lowest digit, then by 10's, then by 100's column etc. - eventually all cards are sorted in order...) IBM made their mark in punch cards years before there were computers.

When you were dealing with 10,000 books a day across 16 or 20 branches, this system made sense. When I worked at the bigger branch, they would fill a librabry cart - 3 shelves, double sided, 4 feet long - within a few minutes during busy return times.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:04 AM
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The next time you're at the library, find an old book and see if there's a card pocket at the back.

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You've got the basic details right. In the most primitive systems (i.e., like the one in my elementary school library), each book had a card in a pocket inside one of the covers. If you wanted to check out a book, you would take it to the librarian and present it along with your library card. The librarian would copy your name onto the book's card, stamp it and a "due date" card with the appropriate date, put the "due date" card in the book's pocket, give the book to you, and file the book's card away somewhere. When you returned the book, the librarian would find the appropriate card, put it back in the book's pocket, and re-shelve the book.
That's basically how our library worked.

Last edited by Guinastasia; 04-07-2010 at 11:05 AM.
  #38  
Old 04-07-2010, 11:14 AM
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We didn't have those. In fact, we didn't even have library cards (small town). The librarian (who had been there for years) knew everyone.

This is the type of thing I was talking about.. The due date was stamped as shown, and your name written in. The card would then be filed. I would think it was by due date, since the due date was on the book when it came back.

There was a second slip attached to the book that just had room to stamp the due date. Sometimes it was in the back of the pocket shown in the photo; other times it was a sheet of paper about 3" x 5" with a gummed edge on one of the shorter sides (the top). The librarian would stick this into the book. If it filled up, she'd stick a new one on, often right on top of the old one (or just remove the old one).

You'd hand the librarian the book. She'd (it was always a "she" back then) take out the slip, stamp it with the due date and write in your name (or library card number). She'd then stamp the due date on the slip inside the book. I liked that part of it because you could always find the due date.
Yes, this is what we did.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:17 AM
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This thread is brining back such fine memories. As others have explained our local library had the metal plate on card punching system. One cool thing was since every book had it's own card with the borrowers numbers stamped on it you knew how many people checked out the book before you did. I can remember "feeling sorry" for books especially older ones without a lot of stamps on their card like no one wanted them.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:22 AM
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This reminds me of a nasty prank we pulled in High School (in the 70's). We noticed that the librarians (who were rather surly) didn't really look closely at the cards when you checked books out. So (the bastards that we were), we took about 16 books from random shelves and swapped their cards. We figured some of the books would eventually get checked out but the wrong book would be on record as being out. When someone returned one of the tainted books, its card wouldn't be there to match - and the card that the person signed would eventually become overdue even though it was never was checked out in the first place. Hillarious right? Well we were stupid pricks. One afternoon they announced the library was going to be closed for a day. I believe it was to go over every damn book to make sure it had the proper card. I'll get a day in pergatory for that.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:31 AM
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I'll get a day in pergatory for that.
And a second day for misspelling purgatory.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:40 AM
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And a second day for misspelling purgatory.
They changed the name to Durango Mountain Resort. It didn't take so now it is Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. But good news you can get a deal on a two day pass.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:42 AM
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And a second day for misspelling purgatory.
Ha! Good catch.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:51 AM
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Speaking of old libraries...

Is the Dewey Decimal Classification dead?

I've heard the Universal Decimal Classification works better with computers.
  #45  
Old 04-07-2010, 01:07 PM
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Remember when retail businesses used to put your credit card into a device, put a multi-part carbon form, and manually charge to your card, and someone later did whatever manual entry was neccessary to get it on your charge account? That is what the libraries here in San Jose did in the 60's and 70's and even 80's until our first automated (computerized) system was installed. Your plastic card was inserted on one side, and EVERY book had a plastic card with author/title. The due date was set on the machine, like a date stamp, and you ran a paper transaction for every book. One paper went into the book pocket with the plastic card, and the remainder were filed together by a printed number on the receipt fotrm. When books were returned, the paper was pulled and shredded. After an appropriate length of time, remaining slips were gathered together and the overdue clerk sent out manually typed notices. Boy, I sure welcomed computers! Remember, widespread automation of library procedures, including the card catalog, is a recent (early 80"s maybe?) event.
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:28 AM
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Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Football
I remember that one!

SPOILER:

Iam claimed that he had mistakenly kicked the field goal wide right, and had no idea where the football had gone at that point. Leroy was immediately suspicious of this story because Mr. Gillty had told the the tale without a trace of a European accent. The iron-clad proof, however, was when Leroy tossed his crumpled library card in front of a walking Gillty and the perp kicked it straight ahead with his boot. Leroy knew that if he were a real placekicker, he would have taken three steps backwards, then two steps to the side, then removed his boot, then kicked the scrap paper with the instep of his bare foot, as all placekickers do! This was all the evidence Leroy's cop father needed to beat the suspect with his baton, then remand him to the Idaville city jail holding cell where he was anally raped by “Butch” Kimball. The last thing Iam remembered was a fellow felon crouched fetal-style in the corner muttering “A narrow flight..An arrow flight..A narrow flight" over and over.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:16 AM
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TOne afternoon they announced the library was going to be closed for a day. I believe it was to go over every damn book to make sure it had the proper card. I'll get a day in pergatory for that.
Wouldn't it be easier to just tell the librarians to make sure when you check it out you inspect the card closer?
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:58 AM
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Is the Dewey Decimal Classification dead?

I've heard the Universal Decimal Classification works better with computers.
No. As an example I can tell that the Swedish National library and the rest of the Swedish library community is in the middle of a process to start using Dewey instead of the Classification System For Swedish Libraries (Klassifikationssystem för svenska bibliotek) maintained by the Swedish Library Association.

If you come to New York you can stay at the Library Hotel, where each room has a Dewey code (and my old classification teacher commented that had they chosen UDC instead they could have had more rooms with a better range of coding).
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:14 AM
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I was going to post this in a recent thread about obsolete jobs but never got around to it.

I worked for a company that provided microfilm services to the City of Toronto Library system. Each branch had at least one camera on the checkout desk, maybe as simple as a little Kodak rotary camera. Your library card was fed together with a card from inside the book.
Someone else from our company drove around the city and picked up the film cassettes for processing.
I never really knew what happened to the developed images. I don't think they went back to the branches. Maybe to the head office.

It was my job to fix the cameras and reader/printers.
  #50  
Old 04-08-2010, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by elmwood View Post
At my local library, I also remember the checkout librarian putting both the main card from the book (which had the due date stamped on it) and your library card onto a tray with some kind of camera mounted overhead, and touching a button. The tray/camera device lit up, and made a sound resembling "eee-DURRRRRR-eee". I saw this system in the 1970s and 1980s.
Yes. I remember the camera thingy too, in our small branch library. A Buffalo thing?
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