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The Card Catalog

The Card Catalog

Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures

Compiled by Library of Congress, Foreword by Carla Hayden


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The Library of Congress brings booklovers an enriching tribute to the power of the written word and to the history of our most beloved books. Featuring more than 200 full-color images of original catalog cards, first edition book covers, and photographs from the library's magnificent archives, this collection is a visual celebration of the rarely seen treasures in one of the world's most famous libraries and the brilliant catalog system that has kept it organized for hundreds of years. Packed with engaging facts on literary classics—from Ulysses to The Cat in the Hat to Shakespeare's First Folio to The Catcher in the Rye—this package is an ode to the enduring magic and importance of books.

More Details

Size: 7 1/2 x 9 in;
Pages: 224 pp;
Format: Hardcover
Publication: April 2017
ISBN: 9781452145402
Carla Hayden is the Librarian of Congress.

The Library of Congress is an unparalleled world resource. Based in Washington, D.C., the library holds more than 165 million items.

Media Reviews

★ “A lively, superbly well-curated, and handsomely illustrated celebratory volume…. An irresistible treasury for book and library lovers.” —Booklist, starred review

“This book about card catalogs, written and published in cooperation with the Library of Congress, is beautifully produced, intelligently written, and lavishly illustrated…. The Card Catalog is many things: a lucid overview of the history of bibliographic practices, a paean to the Library of Congress, a memento of the cherished card catalogs of yore, and an illustrated collection of bookish trivia…. The illustrations are amazing: luscious reproductions of dozens of cards, lists, covers, title pages, and other images guaranteed to bring a wistful gleam to the book nerd’s eye.” —The Washington Post

★ “Beautifully designed and executed, this work by the Library of Congress examines cross-sections of several histories: of the library itself; of the science of cataloging, from cuneiform tablets and bound bibliographies to automated card production and, ultimately, the card’s replacement by machine-readable formats; and the cards themselves as aesthetic objects. Interspersed throughout the text are images to delight book lovers—covers and title pages of classics from Shakespeare’s First Folio to The Joy of Cooking, often first editions from the library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division, with their accompanying cards. These are wonderful eye candy but also, on close reading, fascinating records of the cataloging process, complete with revisions, corrections, marginalia, and name changes.” —Library Journal, starred review

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