Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Date Due

A heads up on a possible contact by John Kelly of the Washington Post concerning the history of public library date due receipts provided me with a little time for a quick review of charging systems of the past. I am actually very interested in the history of some of the library activities/tasks which library workers have shared with their predecessors for more than two centuries so this was no burden. You never know what will come out of an interview with a reporter, but Kelly's blog article today was pretty consistent with what we talked about. Klas Linderfelt, Librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library, made a presentation on library charging systems at the conference of the American Library Association in Cincinnati in 1882. In that presentation he identified 20 questions that needed to be answered in evaluating the effectiveness of a library charging system. The first four are: 1) Is a given book out?; 2) If out, who has it?; 3) When did he [or she] take it?; and 4) When is it to be sent for, as overdue? Kelly's contact motivated me to scan some of my library card collection and add it to the Library History Buff website. This card for a library borrower at the Milwaukee Public Library in the 1920s was well used.

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