At the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago last week I went through the hundreds of library vendor exhibits in the area that ALA is calling "The Stacks". I stopped by the Gaylord Bros. booth to look at their display cases and was very pleasantly surprised to find that one of their display cases contained early examples of their well know library charging machines. Thanks to Amanda Rose, National Sales Manager, for Gaylord for taking time to show me the charging machines (she is pictured in the photo above). It's good to know that Gaylord Bros. is preserving this important piece of the history of so many of the nation's libraries. In 1999 on a post to the PubLib listserv, Karen Schneider wrote the following on the occasion of the retirement of the Gaylord Charging Machine at the Garfield Library in Brunswick, NY.:
"Should we start a Society for the Preservation of Gaylord Charge Machines? At the very least, I'm thinking we should create a website--scan a picture or two and provide narrative and explanations so that future generations could relate to early librarianship. Actually, we'd also need a sound file, for those times when the machine gets stuck on a card and goes "AHHHHHHHRRRRRRRGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRAAAAHHHHHHGGGRRR" so loudly that everyone in the library jumps. (Then, because there is no other way to reboot these things other than unplugging them, someone leaps at the cord... and someone else leaps at the person leaping at the cord, since our computer now shares that power strip... it's quite a scene.) (Can you *make* a charge machine make that sound, on demand?)"
Here are some links to pictures of Gaylord Charging Machines:
An article about Charging Machines by Helen T. Greer can be found here.
A post on Library Charging Machines on the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center blog can be found here.