Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vintage Card Catalog

Remember this??

'Vintage Card Catalog' - I'm thinking that might be redundant. I looked up the word 'vintage' in the online dictionary and found that it can refer to anything that's from 30 to 100 years old. One hundred or more years is considered antique. I was glad to learn that I am not yet an antique, but neither is my library card catalog an antique. It is probably from the 1930s or '40s, so it would be considered vintage.

Yes, back in the good ol' days, we would go to the public library and search the card catalog for the book we wanted. Then we would search the stacks, armed with the information, often handwritten, on that little note card, and find our book. I remember hoping that I didn't have an outstanding fine, or that the librarian, who was at least 110 years old, wouldn't look at me with disappointment and shake her little bony finger at me. (For years, I thought that being cranky and shriveled were prerequisites for a librarian.)

Now I go to Amazon. (Wait! There's more to this story.) Any subject I may be thinking of will probably be represented there by at least one title, whether or not I purchase it from them. But it usually lists several suggestions, has a 'Look Inside' feature which includes a Table of Contents, and a brief synopsis of the book. Then I can go online to my regional public library system, locate and order the book. In a few days it will be waiting for me at my local public library! Inter-library loan was a great idea, wasn't it! Although I can't bring myself to say that I inter-library loan a book, but that I inter-library borrow it.

Just today I paid a $1.00 library fine (I think that fines accumulate rapidly on inter-library loan books!) and am happy to report that that particular stain on my character has been expunged.

What is that piece of plastic trash doing in there?

Several years ago, the Westby, Wisconsin library had a sale when they were moving into their new location. Kevin and I purchased the oak library table with six chairs (which we've used as a kitchen table ever since), three huge stand-alone, access-from-both-sides bookshelves (each set has 48 linear feet of shelf space), and the card catalog you see pictured above with the stand it rests on. The entire package, on a silent auction bid, was ours for $400.  Yeah, that was a long time ago.

 Crusaders and Turks, U.S. Army men and a Confederate soldier
as well as an assortment of little metal trucks and cars
Always good to have a few emergency vehicles available.

As you can see, I like to use the card catalog to store little things the kids might like to play with, as well as labels, staples, chess pieces, audio tapes?, etc.

I had often thought of using the card catalog to catalog our own books, but decided against it in favor of what you see here.

Oh, I see a few stray soldiers here, as well as a naked doll.
Time to reorganize this drawer!

I now also have a drawer of horses. When I showed it to our grandson, he looked disappointed and with a downcast look said, 'Gwamma, I wike cows.'  :-)

Anyone know where I can get a small (literally) herd of inexpensive plastic cows (and calves)?


Don't miss my Hope of Spring sale
25% off all my homemade, luxury soaps at
February 6-10 ONLY
Sale ends Friday at midnight.
Hurry - supplies are limited.

...and more!

Check out all my soaps at

This post is linked to some or all of the following: Amaze Me Monday and Skip to My Lou and Bedazzle Me Monday and  What's in the Gunny Sack and  Making the World Cuter Mondays and Make the Scene Monday and  Made By You Monday and  Something I Whipped Up Monday and  Motivate Me Monday and  Making Monday Marvelous and Get Your Craft On and Tip Me Tuesday and  Made from Scratch Tuesday and  Take a Look Tuesday and  Tasty Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday and  Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays  and Two Maids a Baking and Overflowing With Creativity and What's Cookin' Wednesday and Cast Party Wednesday and  We Did it Wednesday  and It's a Party at Creative Princess and Link it Up Thursday and Threading Your Way and Lisa's Gluten-Free Blog and Favorite Things Friday and I'm Lovin' it Friday and It's a Hodgepodge Friday  and Creative Bloggers and  Serenity Saturday and  Home and Family Friday



Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

What a great use for that beautiful piece of furniture! How fun for the kids to look and see what treasures are in the drawers. I wonder if they still make those little plastic farm sets? Remember, it had all the animals and the fence to build? It wouldn't be all cows, but there has to be a few!

I ordered my new soaps last night! Can't wait to smell them in person!

SImple and Serene Living said...

Oh my goodness. I feel like we are really kindred spirits. I love old card catalogs. When I was young, they were a favorite part of my visit to the library.Now like you, I find many of my books through Amazon.Sometimes I will download one to my Kindle, but more often I will check to see if my library has one and pick it up there. I just paid a $1.25 fine yesterday. I felt the librarian must surely be thinking I was of a criminal nature. I found your blog through a comment you left on Mockingbird Hill Cottage, and so happy I did.

Unknown said...

I love old ... excuse me.. vintage card catalogs! That used to be one of my favorite parts about going to the library.. using the cared catalog! I love how you are putting yours to such good use!

Under Her Wings said...

Love the card catalog! My daughter would love to have something like that to file her book titles in! She goes to library book sales twice a year to load up on more books. She loves vintage and antique books, many of them out of print. Great for home schooling moms!

Kate @ craftwhatever said...

Can't help with the cows! haha- kids are so cute. But that card catalog is fantastic!! I imagine those are hard to come by these days. I remember using them as a kid and even preferring the card catalog to the computers when the library started using those. Nice to be here this morning!

Life Happens said...

I remember having to use the card catalog in the library back in the day!

I've seen pictures of card catalogs used as beautiful home decor in dining rooms, etc. It's something you don't expect to see outside of a library and it adds such a nice touch to any room.

Unknown said...

Love this use of a vintage thing! From one vintage person to another, we need to keep our selves useful.

Robin said...

I love the card catalog...I would love to have one! I could use it for all of Daisy's little things like you do for your grandchildren.

Debra Hawkins said...

Oh man! I love the card catalog. What a beautiful, fantastic piece of furniture! It kind of makes me sad that so many things are digital now.

Denise said...

Very nice.

Alissa@CraftyEndeavor said...

I've been dying to get one of these! Maybe someday.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

It is such a beauty!

I remembering feeling quite grown up when I figured out how to use a card catalog at our library.

Ruth Kelly said...

I use the computer at the Library looking for a book and then I still write down the number and off I go to find it. Some things don't change. Your grandson will like some of the outstanding collections you have as he grows. I hope you got a good buy on this piece of furniture.

jennyfreckles said...

What a wonderful piece of furniture. Jolly useful too.

Lois Christensen said...

This is amazing that you have one of these card catalogs! I love it! I have such wonderful memories of going to our library as a child and even now I still love to go! I would love to be able to participate in your soap sale! Just really can't right now. Money is so tight with our girl in college. :( Hope your sale is going good and you're having a nice day!

Lois Christensen said...

The last time I went to the library I had a fine also! A little over a $1.00. Crazy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Judy, love the card catalogue, and what a great way to use it :) Hope you're having a great day!
Big hugs

Amy Burzese said...

I.am.so.envious. You.are.so.lucky.
And if I had cows I would send them wight now. So sweet.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

That is just the neatest piece of furniture! I would love to find one for the nook in our library area here in our home! And thanks for reminding me about the BIG SALE! I keep looking and looking! You have so many wonderful soaps! ♥

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

I would love to have one of those! Way cool!

Maggie Ann said...

what a great buy!!! One of our local libraries still has the card catalog in place like yours ...and I love Amazon. While out shopping I jot down titles to order from the Interloan Library system. Its great, isn't it! We live in a great day....I just hope it continues to be great.

Laura said...

A score for sure! I've wanted one for awhile now. I love the goodies you store in yours. :)

Kara at Petals to Picots said...

I love those old card catalogs!!

debbie bailey said...

You lucky, lucky girl! I LOVE your card catalog. It was a sad day for me when they replaced those lovely, oak pieces of furniture with plastic computers. It was way more fun to find a book I wanted by looking through index cards with a medal rod running through the top.

I do the same thing on Amazon. Inter-library loan is a great idea. I don't buy nearly as many books now. Do I really need to with a library of over 2500 books? I think not.

Full Circle Creations said...

I love it! I love that you put things the grandkids might like. You can get all kids of farm animals at a farm supply store. I always see them when I'm standing at the check out counter. I also some recently at our Wal-Mart. You buy each animal separately.


Unknown said...

AMAZING! Totally FABULOUS! The things I dream of!!! :) Thanks for sharing at my party!!! Happy Valentine's Day!!! XO, Aimee


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