An encore post, with updates:
I have a small unintentional collection of library cards.
Each card, long after its obsolescence, remained tucked like a little secret note in
a book I borrowed or bought. But they're far from billets doux— rather
they give off a blustery officiousness with their "do not remove"-s and
their all-caps penalties.
They document a nice range of data-recording technology--from
hand-written to type-written, rubber stamp to various arcane punch card
configurations. That seems kind of interesting as a tiny piece of Historical Record. But mostly I just like them formally, graphically. The red-edged card at top right is positively
bristling with overly involved methodology and procedure. The "Alluring
Problem" with its red accent and bold star has an obvious beauty but I
think my favorite is the small printed and punched ticket at lower left.
The holes give a delicate visual syncopation to the printed statements
which, although they are emphatically not, remind me of a haiku.
Library cards are extremely mundane but have a subtle intricacy that's poignant. There's
something quietly affecting about the card on the bottom, right. Each
month and year stamped and noted, each entry a remnant of a long-ago
reader whose path crossed at that exact point with that very book. Had
that card lain dormant in the back of Fashions in American Typography, in the basement of the Brooklyn Library, since June 29 or so, 1950—the last date recorded? Had it not seen the light of day until I requested it be retrieved after 60 years?
I waxing too precious to think of each of these little pieces of paper
as superannuated governesses, each as an attempt to safeguard their
charge when released out in the world?