Cataloging Our Card Catalog History

A female librarian on a phone with men standing behind her in suits looking at the card catalog. Black and white photo.

If you ever find yourself feeling nostalgic for the card catalog system, you’re not alone. Patrons who come across one of our old card catalogs (such as in Special Collections or in the Literature Department) love to reminisce about the old days when one had to physically flip through cards to find a book. (Patrons sometimes ask if they can…

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We Believe in the Power of Good Books!

Leave it to librarians to celebrate the holidays by promoting the power of books. Here, we have the earliest example of the Christmas cards send to Cleveland Public Library staff and library students. This card is dated 1903, measures 3 1/8 by 5 7/8 inches, and is printed on heavy card stock. The inscription reads: “We believe in the power…

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Finding Your Long-Lost Aunt at the Library

Black and white photos of Five female librarians: training class 1903-04

The Library is many times a place of serendipitous discovery. When three sisters visited Cleveland Public Library recently, they had no idea they’d come face to face with their own ancestor. As the women browsed in Special Collections, they came across a photograph display illustrating the Library’s history and recognized their aunt, Mary Thompson Donlan, in a photo of five…

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From Humble Beginnings

It all started right here. On February 17, 1869, Cleveland Public Library officially opened on the third floor of the Northrup and Harrington Block on West 3rd Street and Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. The first two floors were occupied by the Hower and Higbee department store. (In this photo, Public Square can be seen in the background on the…

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