Well, we are in our third week into blogging about libraries and librarians, and after last week’s rather lighthearted topic of Librarians in Pop Culture, we thought we’d turn our attention to important moments in library history. Which, when you think about it, are important moments in human progress…..

Information really isn’t information unless its accessible….

In 1791, the French Revolutionary government issued a cataloguing code for standardized categorization of books seized from religious houses.

And, as you may have guessed , legendary French frugality imaginatively reused playing cards to record the title, author, book description, etc….

Voila – the first card catalogue !

Remember these?

For another great moment it library history…. when accessibility was forever changed….

Harriet Avram creates MARC !

Combining computer programming and cataloging practices, Harriet Avram and her Library of Congress team created MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) records in 1968. The MARC system quickly became the preferred format for libraries throughout the world. Interlibrary loan went worldwide.

Well, we’ve covered two great moments in accessibility of information….

But what about the creation of great collections?

Too many great libraries to list in this short blog, so I’ll stick to my native New Yorker bias and go with….

Artwork near our reference desk (& donated by NYLI’s own Brooke Raymond) commemorates NYPL’s famous Fifth Avenue Main Library

The creation of The New York Public Library in 1895!

The history of New York City is the history of business; Successful fur trader John Jacob Astor pledged $400,000 in his will for the establishment of a reference library. James Lenox, son of wealthy merchants, had established his own private library of rare books. Those two library collections combined with Samuel J. Tilden’s estate bequeathing about $2.4 million — to “establish and maintain a free library and reading room in the city of New York” – resulted in the formation of The New York Public Library.

And for our final great moment in library history we present the founding of The New York Law Institute in 1828. Founded as a membership library, it helped end the legal profession cartels of that time.

NYLI now provides a $15 million eBook collection, print resources, research assistance, access to ProQuest Congressional & LLMC., and the all important Record & Briefs to its members.

Time for you to have your GREAT MOMENT… by joining NYLI today !!