General > General Technical Chat

Mid 60s punch card checkout machine in library

(1/2) > >>

Circlotron:
In March 1969 a new library opened where I was living at the time. Every book in the library had a small pocket in the back with a punch card approximately 3 inches wide and 4 inches high. Also your library membership card was a punch card. They would feed these cards through a machine at the checkout to record the loan details. The machines were about 2 foot cube with a slot in the top for the cards. Blue colour. They would click and clatter merrily as the cards went through. Does anyone know what these machines might have been?

Edit -> changed date from ~1967 to March 1969.

Sal Ammoniac:
I've never seen anything like that. My local library used to record book checkouts on microfilm. Each book had a card in a pocket in the front and the librarian would stack the cards from the books you were checking out along with your library card and run them through a machine that photographed them on microfilm.

TimFox:
I definitely remember such a system at my municipal public library:
The machine would nibble out a bit of the edge on each pass, so that the next time the card would go into the machine slightly farther.
The size of the nibble related directly to the printed date, etc. entered on that line.
Before that, smaller libraries had the name of the patron hand-written in a cell on a non-mechanical card.  One could check if any famous professor had borrowed the same book.

25 CPS:
The public library in Toronto where I grew up had something similar for patron's library cards which were perforated.  They'd be fed into one slot on the machine and you could hear a heavy motor running and it'd violently slam the card through and spit it out another slot.  I was very young when this system was replaced and I don't remember if the library books themselves had perf cards in them.  I'll have to ask around and see if anyone else remembers if they did and if it was all of the libraries in Toronto or only some of the branches.

I'm really curious about what the equipment and back end system was now.

rf-messkopf:
According to Wikipedia, the library of my Alma mater was the first in Germany to introduce an electronic catalog in the mid seventies, and I think they had electronic checkout systems even before that, also based on punch cards to record the loan details: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universit%C3%A4tsbibliothek_Bielefeld. I'm too young to have seen these in action, but many old books still have the punch card in the back.

Some searching turns up a number of books published during that time, on the systems they used and their operating experience:
http://d-nb.info/801012406
http://d-nb.info/760146764
http://d-nb.info/730085007
http://d-nb.info/840572131

From the title of one of these I reckon that they changed to barcodes in 1976.

Unfortunately no electronic access , so I would have to wait until I'm near a larger library, or use inter-library loan from here. It would be interesting to take a look. I vaguely remember some old pictures of the systems that were published somewhere, and I believe they were made by Nixdorf. That manufacturer actually was located in a neighboring city.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

There was an error while thanking
Thanking...
Go to full version