Change happens

Change happens

Date labels from 1960s to present day.

Yesterday I retrieved a couple of books from our book store containing our pre-1986 material. One of the books contained three date labels, testifying to its loan history, beginning in January 1965 and ending in May 2009. Initially I was struck by the physical change in the size of the labels and amused to “remember” how we used to stamp the labels with the due date. How quickly those days are put behind us, now all book information is accessible online.

The size, shapes, colour and telephone numbers may have changed, but the one constant is the sentence: ‘a fine will be imposed’. The most recent label reads “Fines are imposed on overdue books”, which is perhaps slightly softer.

The dates on older labels had been diligently crossed out and initialled, evidence of the working practice of the day. In addition to the date label, which was stamped with the due date, each book had a unique borrower card which had to be completed, signed, stamped and filed. Upon return, the borrower card had to be retrieved, signature crossed out and date label crossed and initialled. This signified that the borrower card had indeed been matched to the book. If a the cards weren’t married up, the borrower could receive overdues, which could be irksome. Laborious and time consuming, for borrower and library staff! The filing of cards was a never ending task, a misfiled card could mean a lengthy and often frustrating search.

Change happens.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Richard
    May 28, 2014 @ 17:29:53

    It’s like an archaeological dig, on just one page of a book!

    Like

    Reply

  2. Rosina
    May 28, 2014 @ 14:42:33

    I really enjoyed this piece. It really brings home how things have changed in library land!

    Like

    Reply

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