Monday, April 26, 2010

The Library Thing


Today in the mail, I received my copy of She & Him Volume Two. I had downloaded a couple of the songs on iTunes, but I do still like a really good CD in physical form, particularly if I like the artwork. And I do love the feel of the cardboard-packaged CDs in preference to their jewel-cased compatriots.

I opened the CD and found a little pocket with the insert, all done up to look like an old-fashioned library index card.

That's right - libraries no longer use such index cards. At least, the majority of libraries now work on digital systems, so your book is swished through a scanner and you can't snoop at previous borrowings and due dates.

In fact, I sometimes wonder if younger readers at all remember the days when library cards were in use? Which makes it particularly curious that many children's books likewise reproduce the nostalgia of library ephemera. Take Shaun Tan's Tales from Outer Suburbia, seen above. The borrowers' slip records all the acknowledgements neatly. Emily Gravett's Wolves likewise reproduces such nostalgic touches (her website is worth a look). Such authors/illustrators incorporate the ephemera of snail mail and used books, deliberately aging their pristine works.

If you pop over to the Jingles for Juniors exhibition at the Monash Rare Books Collection, you can see an earlier example in the Japanese fairy tale series by B.H. Chamberlain et al., 1888, displayed.

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