Have you ever moved out of a house and found yourself lingering over objects that you had once thought lost? Or have you ever discovered a piece of the home’s history that a previous owner left behind? If you’ve been following our blog, you know that we have been busy moving out of the Law Library reading room and into temporary space. As the librarians were moving, they uncovered some curiosities that offered a peek into the Library’s past.
Cleaning out the Reading Room in preparation for the renovation, we discovered some old technology. Do you know what these are? Make a guess before scrolling down for the answer!Eric Eldritch, equal employment specialist at the Library’s Office of Inclusiveness and Compliance, told us:
These are both Assistive Technology, or Adaptive Technology. The one on the left is a TTY (Teletypewriter) aka TDD Telecommunication Device for the Deaf. This technology is now outmoded and rarely used since the invention of the Videophone.
The one on the right is an Portable Closed Circuit Image Enlarger. It transfers an image of print material to the screen in several modes (white print on black background, black print on white background). These devices, now in color, are still in use. However, smart phone apps are now featuring this technology.
Jim Martin spent several hours last week moving his office as part of the Law Library’s reading room redesign. During the move, he found several items which reflect on the history of the Library of Congress. The images that appear below show charge slips that were used in the later portion of the twentieth century to track the lending of items from the Library’s collections. Loans were processed by the Library’s Loan Division. External loans, which often are made to other libraries through inter-library loan, were processed on white cards. Loans for items to be used on-site were processed on pink cards.The white keypunch card is for the loan of a 1958 Senate hearing. The call number, title and borrowing date (01/18/80) are listed along with a code for the borrower.
The pink card is from 1995 and an example of an approach adopted later by the Library: card stock designed to be printed on a line printer. It is for an internal loan of a title from the Law Library’s collection. In addition to the same type of information listed on the white IBM card the internal loan card lists the item ID number and the name of the borrower.
With the adoption of the current OPAC, the Library abandoned the use of line-printed cards. Loan cards are now printed by laser printers on pre-marked cards.
Someone handed Margaret a Photostat of a recommendation card dated 09/14/1954. In the Library, recommending officers (ROs) – Library staff who suggest items to add to the collection – would fill out a slip like this one for individual items. This request was for a Polish title, “Lower Castes of Polish Knighthood in the Statutes of Casimir the Great,” by Oswald Balzer. Looks like the Library eventually acquired the book! And for the low, low price of $1.00.