Monday, 10 March 2008

Digression: card catalogues a-go-go!

Them Bulgarians love their card catalogues...

Svetlina Chitalishte Library:

Card catalogue, Svetlina Chitalishte Library, Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia Municipal Library:

Card catalogue, Sofia Municipal Library, Sofia, Bulgaria

And another, this time with a plant and some insouciant stacking:

Catalogues, Sofia Municipal Library, Sofia, Bulgaria

A blurry action shot:

More card catalogues, Sofia Municipal Library, Sofia, Bulgaria

A corridor o' catalogues:

Even more card catalogues, Sofia Municipal Library, Sofia, Bulgaria

And then I felt I'd taken enough photos of card catalogues. I'm strangely attracted to them, mostly because I've never used one. The children's library in Barton* had a ring binder instead of a card catalogue, and Goxhill library is small enough to not need one. Hull University's Brynmor Jones Library has been computerised since way back in the day, and they didn't hang onto the card catalogue as a relic of a bygone era, as many universities have. Bradford Uni's JB Priestley Library was (and is) similarly advanced. I think I encountered a card catalogue somewhere at Sheffield, but I wasn't compelled to use it: where they still exist in the UK, they tend to be snapshots of the collection in, say, 1973, before their first LMS (or ILS for North Americans) was implemented.

The thing is, I asked one of the Bulgarian librarians if her OPAC contained all of the records in the card catalogue. Yes, she said, it does. I asked if this included the old books, from maybe 30 years ago or more. No, she said, they're not in the catalogue. I bet most of them don't exist any more.

* How old is this photo? That Sierra looks newish, and there's been a Police station next to the library for at least a couple of years.