The Smithsonian Libraries' Trade Literature Collection includes catalogs, sales brochures, and other materials "that were once part of the merchandising of business." What a fascinating source of design, technology, and marketing history! At the Smithsonian magazine blog, library technician Alexia MacClain goes meta in a post about one curious item in the Trade Literature Collection: The Classified Illustrated Catalog of the Library Department of Library Bureau (1899), a catalog of supplies for libraries. From Smithsonian:
Every so often, library staff may come across a book that is too large to be safely shelved in its proper location. The book is typically removed and shelved in a more suitable spot based on its size. Judging from supplies offered in this trade catalog, the same thing happened in 1899.
To assist in locating an oversize book in its new location, Library Bureau offered supplies called "Wood Dummies." These were thin boards measuring 5 x 8 x 1/4 inches and meant to be shelved in the book's proper, or original, location. A label, such as the one below, was attached to the board to assist users in locating the book's actual location. The label included bibliographic information and the book's new location along with the reason for it being moved. This particular label gives several reasons. Besides being "too large for the regular shelves," other reasons included rarity, cost, being transferred to Reference, or missing.