Recycle and reuse: your card catalog

November 5th, 2012 § 8 comments

Card catalog drawers in Doheny Library

The card catalog drawers at Doheny Library haven’t had cards in them for years. They are built into the wall of a charming alcove off to the left of the circulation desk. Removing them would not necessarily be difficult, but the aesthetics of the little space they occupy is quite enjoyable and older alumni love to regale us with tales of how they spent hours there transcribing titles, call numbers, etc.

Rather than remove the drawers, we have instituted a new use: fundraising. Enter the Top Drawer Society. Donors who contribute $10,000 at one time or over four years and are honored with an engraved plaque placed on one of the drawers. Simple enough. But what we did not expect was that donors would use these drawers to leave secret gifts to their children/grandchildren/etc. who are currently attending USC. So this past month, we added locks and keys to all the drawers and hence begins what I hope will be a long and cherished tradition of gift giving down and across generations of library patrons.

By the way, a card catalog drawer is the perfect size for storing wine bottles. Just sayin’.

§ 8 Responses to Recycle and reuse: your card catalog"

  • JDD says:

    I’m a recent alumnus who started hiding little gifts in the drawers a couple of years ago. Whenever I make it back to Los Angeles that is. Apparently my habit was unconsciously picked up by the administration.

  • [...] love that USC’s Doheny Library found a unique use for their unused card catalog drawers [...]

  • xoxoxoBruce says:

    How nice the people who can afford a $10,000 gift, get special consideration from the library. After all, the privileged should have more privileges.

  • John says:

    Bruce, anyone can came to our library and use most of our resources (books, reference materials, onsite database use, study space, etc.) for free! The most important things we provide (access and service) are low to no-cost. That said, we still need to recognize those individuals who want to give back to the library. It’s just a box, Bruce. A tiny symbol of our thanks, not “a privilege.” I hope that one day, if you ever have 10k to throw around, that you will be as generous to the people/institutions that have helped you along the way or who have given their time and effort to the improvement of society. And if you decide to donate that 10k to a library, I hope they will honor your gift in an appropriate manner.

  • Brenda the Librarian says:

    Yes John, it’s FREE! But someone has to pay for it somehow – either the students through higher tuition, or taxpayers, or through donations to the library foundation. So quit pouting xoxoxoBruce!! The people who donate deserve a small bit of recognition for their generous CHOICE to give their OWN money to USC.

  • IXU says:

    Brenda I think the 10k donation will cover the cost of the little brass plaque adequately.