or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

San Rafael offers first ever bamboo library cards

   July 30th, 2014

I first saw this about a month ago, but just recently remembered how cool it was and wanted to pass it along. Did you hear that the San Rafael Public Library is offering bamboo library cards to patrons?


Now that's awesome. It sounds terribly expensive, but however they can afford it, it's got to be making a big impact with their patrons. The cards look great, and it's wonderful to see a library incorporating a renewable resource like this.

Way to go, San Rafael Public Library!

But of course, I'm never satisfied until I can steal and improve. My library won't be doing this, but if we did, maybe we could use something with a local connection, instead of bamboo. Chelmsford is known for glass and granite, so why not try a library card made out of one of those materials? Impractical? Pah.

Well, maybe. Then it hit me - has any library ever used library cards made out of discarded/recycled books? I don't really know how it would be done - laminated pages or covers, or completely pulped and re-pressed into new cards? It'd be fun if you could still read the text on the page or see the cover artwork. Also neat to put the library logo and barcode on one side, so there would be some uniformity, but otherwise the flipside of the card would be different so each card would be unique.

I like this idea, but haven't looked around to see if anyone has done it, or how it could even be done. One of these days, in my spare time...

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “San Rafael offers first ever bamboo library cards”

  1. Davin Says:

    Great idea, but some people are always horrified to realize we just “throw out” some books (after trying to sell or give them away for months, of course). My library’s in Central Indiana, so I suppose we’d have to offer limestone cards…

  2. Roberta Says:

    We switched a couple of years ago to cards made from corn – they were about the same price and we felt a little better about ourselves. 🙂 but then they stopped making them, and we switched to 50/50 cards, and now we’re just back to PVC. (Des Plaines, Illinois)

  3. Swiss Army Librarian » San Rafael offers ... Says:

    […] Swiss Army Librarian is a blog by Brian Herzog mostly about library and technology issues relating to public libraries  […]