2. Before computers
Back in the 60's there were no computers and no internet.
Libraries held books, magazines and newspapers.
Many had public 'reading rooms' where the public could come and read the daily newspapers.
Many retired pensioners used them as they could not afford to spend money on daily papers and they had the time to read during the day.
Compare this to the computer and web based reading rooms found in libraries today.
Before there were computers, libraries used a paper based system to keep track of borrowed books. This is an example of a 'paper-based' database.
Each had a card - a 'record' within the database. The card was moved from the 'in library' section of the index to the 'borrowed' section of the index. The overdue ones were eventually placed in the 'overdue' section of the index.
So the librarian knew where every book was located and who had them out on loan.
The system worked well, but it was very labour intensive to be constantly re-indexing the cards.
Libraries would want to store copies of older newspapers and other written material in case people needed access to them at a later date. However they could not possibly store the full paper versions of every daily newspaper - there simply wasn't the physical room.
The solution was to make tiny photographs of each page on 'microfilm'. A large newspaper sheet could be photographed on film only half an inch or smaller. A 'micro-film' reader (also called micro-fiche) was used to read the archives.
Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you
Click on this link: Library in 1960
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