Searching the Library

card catalog

I just found out that this week is National Library week.  It’s like a week just for the weirdos like me that are more comfortable in libraries and book stores than anywhere else.  Yes!  Although, I do not spend a lot of time in libraries simply because I don’t like to give books back that I love, so I just buy them all.  And that leads to a problem seeing as my bookshelf is so full there is no room for anymore new books.  Oy!

I am studying to get a certificate in Freelance Writing and I came across a section the other day that kind of blew my mind when I really thought about it.  When I was in high school we used to write papers all the time just to improve our writing and research skills.  I always made the worst grades on these papers.  I can write all day but the moment you tell me what to write I decide to rebel.  It’s a horrible issue.

Anyways, part of learning how to research was learning how to use the card catalogs and understanding the Dewey Decimal System.  Let’s be real here, who actually understood all that mess?  It seemed like it was just too much to remember, at least for my teenage mind.  I didn’t have time to remember all that stuff, I was too busy dreaming about vampires and drooling over my latest crush.

I remember the card catalogs though.  I remember how just looking at the cabinet with all those cards in it was just so overwhelming and I got tired looking at it.  I hated trying to find what I was looking for in those things.  And I never went to a library outside of school to do any kind of research.  I was such a lazy student.

This of course was all before everything went digital.  When I started thinking about it I actually got a little sad.  I miss those cabinets filled with cards of information.  I miss having to search through all of the mounds of information just to find what I was looking for.

My local library now has a few computers dedicated to just searching for the book or topic you are looking for.  Of course the Dewey Decimal System is still in effect, but no one knows what the numbers stand for anymore.  At least I don’t, or didn’t.  Now, you go to a computer and type in a few words and BAM, you got what you were looking for, or at least a list of things that you could possibly be looking for.

In a way it takes away from the mystery of libraries.  The magic has dimmed because things are so easy to find now.  I never go into the library looking for anything though.  I go just to browse the shelves of books to see if I can discover anything new.  I am one of those people that judges a book by it’s cover.  I can’t help it, if the cover is interesting I am more likely to read the book.  And I haven’t read a lot of older books because…well…the covers are boring and I just can’t get into them.

I know I should read more of the classics, I haven’t even been able to bring myself to read Dracula and I love vampires!  I might read it one day, just not any day soon.

Back to libraries.  I know that things must be easier being able to connect to a digital database and type in a few words.  It cuts down tremendously on time spent researching.  It is probably a blessing to librarians as well, not having to worry about organizing the cards after some brat teenager decided to rearrange it.  Believe me, I saw several kids do that in high school.  I secretly wished horrible things on them for being so careless.

I know I have said it in many post before, but it is really sad how dependent on technology this world has become.  Yeah, there is a mystery and magic related to technology, but it’s not the same.  Standing at a computer is not the same as searching through cards and accidentally coming across something you didn’t expect.

It’s funny how I resented the card catalog when I was in high school and how much I miss them now.  Maybe their are libraries that still have them, after all, the older generation sometimes refuses to get with the technology hype.

What do you think?  Do you miss the card catalogs?  Do you even remember them?


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