Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Library Research Edition

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 5,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Next week (April 12-18) is National Library Week! First sponsored in 1958, this national observance is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. As noted on the ALA website, “it is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.”

In honor of this event, we’re getting a glimpse of how past generations of users, working in the pre-Internet age of the not-too-distant past, conducted research and found materials at KU Libraries.

Photograph of a researcher using a microfiche reader, 1970s

A researcher using a microform reader, 1970s. You can still visit the
Spencer Reading Room to get some firsthand experience using a more modern version
of this tool. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 32/0 1970s Prints:
University of Kansas Libraries (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of patrons using the card catalog at Watson, 1981

Patrons using the card catalog at Watson Library, 1981. Be sure to
take a peek at the Spencer card catalog the next time you visit our Reading Room.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 32/0 1981 Prints:
University of Kansas Libraries (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of an early KU Libraries electronic public catalog, 1987-1988

A view of an early version of the KU Libraries electronic public catalog, 1987-1988.
Converting the old paper cards into this format was a big deal for staff and patrons,
but by today’s standards the catalog was still quite cumbersome: it could only be accessed
at designated terminals at the library, search and indexing capabilities were limited,
and graphical user interface did not exist. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 32/0 1987/1988 Prints: University of Kansas Libraries (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

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