Here it is, our beloved Law Library card catalog–in its day, a glorious collection of information on all legal material in the Library of Congress’ collection, sorted by Author, Title and Subject. So admired that a smaller version was housed behind the reference desk, holding duplicate cards for those titles shelved in the Reading Room.
Even though it had not been updated since 1980, the card catalog nonetheless remained in the Law Library Reading Room, still used by staff and patrons looking for older, more obscure items and by staff classifying material that did not make it into our initial electronic catalog.
That is, until recently!
Where once stood rows of beautiful, multi-drawered cabinets with pullout shelves is now merely open space. The only trace of its former occupant being evidenced by the faded carpet outline that surrounds where the catalog had been for almost 35 years.
So what happened? Where did it go? Who would dare to remove the card catalog without consulting those of us who loved it?
I, for one, would gladly have taken a section home, perhaps using it to file recipes or simply to serve as a reminder of what once was.
Well, fear not, fellow bibliophiles. The catalog is safe and sound in a new location. A little thinner and longer than it used to be, it is nonetheless intact. And it is now standing just steps from the Collection Services Division’s offices, much closer to those of us still using it.
Of course, the card catalog removal had been long-planned and really was not a mystery to any of us. With its relocation, the Reading Room is left with much more space for new computers and workspace when it is renovated later this year.
Hopefully someday soon, the remaining information housed within will make its way into our current online catalog–accessible to the world through the OPAC.
And when it eventually does outlive its usefulness, I hope they remember that my recipe collection sure could use an indexing system.