Former Card Catalog Furniture Now Stores Historic Articles

Though physical library card catalogs and the efforts of searching these small-drawered cabinets for book locations may be a thing of the past, the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library is still putting these antiques to good use.

When the library upgraded to a digital catalog in the early 1990’s, the physical card catalogs were stored in the basement, with cards still in them.

“We knew at some point they were going to come to some good end,” said Lori Belongia, Library Director.

After the construction of the new library in 2016, old card catalogs came out of storage and were put to use in the new Genealogy Room as storage for historical articles.

Replacing the former cards are organized newspaper clippings that date back more than a century. Consisting of sports news, business clippings, job promotions, marriages, and more, the clippings are alphabetized and available for the public to peruse.

“What’s in it started with clippings that were maintained by the Marshfield News-Herald. It was their clipping file. At some point they gave it to the Historic Preservation Association,” said Belongia. “Though it started with the News-Herald, other people in Marshfield were keeping clippings, some military cards came over from Upham Mansion, and other cards were given to us. We incorporated them all together.”

Maintained by library staff and genealogy group volunteers, clippings are organized alphabetically by name (last name, first name, middle initial) and stored in 3X5” envelopes.

“It’s just neat when people come in and start poking around,” said Belongia. “When somebody finds something, we just see them light up.”

Those wishing to make a copy of their findings can do so with help from the library’s Information Desk. Clippings can be duplicated using a copy machine, or scanned into a digital format and e-mailed. People are also using their phones to copy articles.

“The surprise of finding something you weren’t even sure you were seeking is such a delight,” said Belongia. “This collection is treasure stored in an old card catalog.”

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