Good Question: How to Repurpose Old Card Catalogs?

Good Question: How to Repurpose Old Card Catalogs?

Cambria Bold
May 8, 2009

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Dear Re-nest,

I work at a university library, and (as it seems like is always the case in information services) we are updating several different areas of the library. Our card catalogs have been out of actual use for a long while, but there are still dozens of them kicking around the building, some up to twenty feet long. Any ideas on what could be done with them? We hate to just throw them out as some of them are really beautiful solid pieces of woodwork. We've thought about giving them away to staff but no one really knows what they would do with them when they got them home. If there's some way we could re-purpose them, even if it required some serious alterations, we would love to have the small ones to give as donor gifts or perhaps something made from the big ones for a fundraiser auction. There doesn't seem to be an antiques/collectibles market for these, but it seems like such a function oriented piece that we should be able to find a function for it! All the drawers are fully removable and all the slots have bottoms, so theoretically the drawers could be removed to create cubbies. But what does one put in 2-3 foot long cubby that's about 5.5 inches wide and 3.5 inches tall?

Any ideas would be appreciated.


Leah, we actually DO think there's a market for card catalogs — quite a large one in fact! Anytime they show up on our Scavenger Craigslist/Ebay finds on our other Apartment Therapy cities, they sell out like hot cakes! Card catalogs make a great statement in a room. Leave them as is or paint them. Use them to hold craft/sewing supplies, jewelry, kitchen utensils, socks/tights, even wine bottles! Check out these posts for some more ideas on what to do with card catalogs:

Inspiration: Using An Old Card Catalog as A Bar
Bits & Bobbin's card catalog organizer
Look! Card Catalog Bookshelf and Display

Any other ideas?

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