“Fall” in Love with Library Card Catalog Cabinets

Nov 4, 2009 by

Although it’s been five years since I left the hallowed hallways of Berkeley, the fall always reminds me of the promise of new knowledge.  For the fall issue of UPPERCASE magazine (which you can still enjoy through a subscription), I was inspired by the quintessential symbol of  timeless wisdom: library card catalogs.  Of course, in the spirit of Poetic Home, my article is filled with ideas on how to repurpose these wonderful biblio-antiquities.

uppercase - library card catalog feature

Here is a closer look at the current rendition of my most recent library card catalog cabinet find.  It’s a cabinet of vintage curiosities for now, but I’m in the process of repurposing it for the baby’s nursery.

Mid Century Modern Library Card Catalog Cabinet

Does the fall remind you of back-to-school nostalgia too? It may be time for me to take a trip to the library this afternoon….

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  1. What a great find! Can’t wait to see the transformation. It’s already very beautiful.

  2. What a great idea! That is my ideal piece of furniture – vintage, repurposing, and connected to books!

  3. Annie Pazoo

    Swoon – green with envy :-)

  4. Incredible, I love how you have styled it and can not wait to see what you do with it next!!

  5. beautiful. as always.

  6. that piece is perfection!
    I can see storing adorable baby socks in one of those drawers…

  7. Just wanted to say that I love everything you do! You’re such an inspiration for me to think outside the box! :)

  8. grace that is such a gorgeous piece!

  9. YES – I love them too!

  10. Truth be told I still haven’t gotten over the demise of card catalogs. But your repurposing is great! I do love anything with lots of drawers or cubbies.


  11. oh beautiful!! it’ll be so functional in a nursery!!!

    and as, always, i’m CRAZY over your photos ^ styling!! the fairytales are BEAUTIFUL!!


  12. it was so great to see you in uppercase, again. love your catalog and can’t wait to see what you do with it for your baby. enjoy your weekend!

  13. I am sooo in love with that cabinet!

  14. Lisa

    I first visited your site several months ago through a Google image search for card catalogs. I saw your lovely card catalog that had plants growing in some drawers. Soon after, I became the proud owner of a 72-drawer catalog of my own! I use it mostly as a functional storage piece (essentially a very organized junk drawer with 72 alphabetized compartments), rather than as a display, but I still appreciate the inspiration your images provided. Thank you!

    I am coveting another card catalog. I think I’d like to have one nearly every room!

  15. Anna R

    I have been searching for a library cabinet for ages and I work at a library.

  16. jen

    Oh my gosh, I’ve always been in love with card catalogs! I want one so bad! Where do you find something like that?

  17. Love it! One of my greatest regrets was passing on a giant cabinet like this at the flea market. Wish I had it now. Great styling. Great post. Thanks!

  18. My husband, the electrical engineer, would LOVE the giant light bulb! Where did you find that?

  19. Grace

    Thank you all for your sweet words! I am finishing transforming the card catalog for the nursery and look forward to sharing the new pictures :)

    Jen, there are usually a handful of card catalogs for sale on eBay, and you may get lucky enough to find one in your area so you don’t have to deal with shipping. Otherwise, keep your eyes peeled at the flea market, architectural salvage place, and even estate sales!

    Erin, the giant lightbulb is vintage, and I found it while digging through an antique dealers’ musty boxes during a vintage treasure hunting trip this last summer :)

  20. I saw your piece in Uppercase and loved it! I recently found a card catalog case at the Brimfield market — use it to store all my crafts + hardware supplies. yours is fantastic! I love the idea of it for a nursery.

  21. Tanned Tushy

    I just found a vintage card cabinet today at an estate sale. They are heavy lil’ boogers! I paid $75.00 for it, and it’s in perfect shape. I can read the word London on the front tag, but cannot make out any other information about it. It has 15 drawers and is detachable from the table it sits on. I am searching the internet right now for fun uses for it, but might eventually sell it.

  22. That was stimulating . I like your finesse that you put into your work. Please do move forward with more similar to this.

  23. What a good way to discuss

  24. this is a really cool interpretation and conversion. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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