May 19, 2022

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Memorial Library Set to Remove Historic Card Catalog

From The Badger Herald:

The era of the card catalog is coming to a close at the University of Wisconsin.

The 6,700 drawers used for decades to house Memorial Library’s public card catalog will be removed in the coming months in order to allow space for additional projects, a UW statement announced Tuesday.

The space will instead be used to support digital humanities research, according to General Library Systems Deputy Director Edward Van Gemert. He added this will not detract from the library experience or usefulness of the library staff.


The card catalog in Memorial Library has not been maintained in the last 25 years, according to the statement.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: A farewell to the card catalog (via University of Wisconsin News)

The millions of cards will be recycled and the majority of card cases will go to the university SWAP (Surplus with a Purpose) store where they are sold individually. SWAP is open to the public for those in the market for a piece of library history. Memorial Library is also planning on keeping some of the built-in cases and a sampling of cards.

The current plan is to use the space for a new Libraries’ initiative called The Humanities Research Bridge. The collaboration with DoIT Academic Technology and the College of Letters & Science Learning Support Services will provide a suite of services and spaces designed to facilitate and advance collaborative research in the humanities.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.