Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Foolery #12: Card carrying member

I think you'd have to be on a serious research mission to put up with the post-9/11 level of security required to actually get in the National Library of Medicine to use their Reading Room, but it is still possible. You can request up to 50 articles per day from their stacks with your own library card, complete with a warning on the back that

It is a violation of Federal Law and punishable by fine and/or imprisonment to steal of willfully damage or destroy Library Books or other Library property.
Here is information about how to receive your own NLM library card when you visit. It was suggested to us as a personalized souvenir opportunity by our NLM tour guide, so please go ahead. It's fun and takes 5 minutes! The machine that churns the cards out now doesn't look like the one in the video at all. It's much more compact and makes a lot of funky noises before it finally spits out this card with your minimized electronic signature & mug shot on it. At the bottom of the webpage is a map; the computers for the first step are in the Online Catalogs section then you head to the Patron Registration Desk to process the card.

Be sure to head over to the History of Medicine Reading Room and peer in at their Incunabula (texts made with movable type before 1501). I do not have synesthesia, but if I did the word Incunabula is one of the closest ones to trigger a response in me to it. Outside the Incunabula (last time, I promise) they had the book with the mandrake illustration in it from 1491!