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How can a library card catalog be re-purposed? Answered

I would like to see different examples of how old library card catalogs are being used in new ways.


I second the Fox's suggestion that these would be wonderful just as they stand -- or maybe retrofitted with drawers that have higher sides -- for storage of small parts and supplies of almost any kind. (If they're too small, you might want to put other containers inside the drawers -- I wouldn't try just filling a drawer with garlic powder, for example!) You might want to look at what folks are doing with "apothecary cabinets" , which are similar chests of many (slightly larger) drawers. Heck, if I could get one for a reasonable price I'd be tempted to just put it in my household library for use as, yes, a card catalog... just because I could, and because a proper library needs a catalog. (Mine is currently in a database, which is probably more useful but less elegant.)

A friend of mine was lucky enough to get her hands one a really nice and clean metal one. She makes and sells jewelry as a hobby and stores all of her materials in it. The thing allows her to have an extensive selection and keep it very neatly organized. She even had room for all but a couple of her tools. Sure it's a very obvious use, but it works. I've seen an old wooden one with the drawers taken out used at a store with small trinkets for sale in each hole. If I had one, I might be tempted to try some kind of social project that puts it to use. First thing that comes to mind is sort of a time capsule. Order enough blank cards to fill a drawer and ask various community groups to help out by writing or drawing on a card. Once you get them all back, they're filed and locked away for 5 years... at which point, you or a successor fills another drawer and unlocks the first drawer for anyone to browse. As for hacking it, it really depends on how it was built and what your interests are. Just some thoughts.