These Dewey Decimals Got Style!

I don't want to sound like a fuddy-duddy, but the number of people who still remember card catalogs is starting to wane, and half of kids these days probably wouldn't know what to do with one if it bit them on the nose. But I have fond memories of perusing the catalog at the local library, puzzling out the section I needed, and going off on an adventure for new reading material or research aids, and you might too.

Sadly, card catalogs are going the way of the dodo. They're heavy and cumbersome, forcing many libraries to switch to a much more nimble electronic catalog system. (Cataloging electronically, of course, has lots of other benefits, including streamlining interlibrary loans, making it easier to process books, and more.) The result of this shift has been a flood of abandoned card catalogs, many of which are made with beautiful hardwoods, elegant brass hardware, and lovely decorative features.

Thankfully, people are rescuing these lovely vintage furnishings from tragic fates, repurposing them in a variety of creative ways in home decor: while card catalogs are so last season at the library, they're majorly hip in the home. I took a look at some card catalog projects at Hometalk to see what people are doing with these relics of a bygone era.

Photo: Chelsea/HometalkChelsea's charming card catalog was run down and missing a drawer when she got it, but you wouldn't guess that looking at it now. Instead, it's a beautiful piece of display furniture for a carefully staged domestic scene.

Photo: Lauren/HometalkCard catalogs happen to make great craft room furniture, because their small drawers are perfect for storing a variety of little items. Buttons, embroidery threads, knitting needles, and all sorts of other crafty objects can be stashed in a card catalog, as illustrated here with this beautifully organized black and white craft room. What a great remodeling job!

Photo: ChiWei/HometalkHere's an illustration of card catalog storage in action! ChiWei's organization system for embroidery thread is way better than fishing around in a container for the right color, and the bobbins keep it tightly wound so it won't be wandering off or getting tangled.

Photo: Erin/HometalkThis refinished card catalog looks sleek and chic. It's a lovely storage and display piece that coordinates well with the rest of Erin's home!

Photo: Julie Moyna/HometalkJulie Moyna put her Los Angeles-area painting skills to work on this aged, weathered library cabinet, which hadn't had gentle treatment through the years. By the time she was done, it looked aristocratically funky.

Katie Marks writes for

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