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Book Fetish

Keep It Old School With Library Due Date Card Goods

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I worked in a public library in high school, first as a page, then as a technical services assistant. In both of the roles — the first primarily shelving books and the second primarily covering books with protective Kapco covers — one of the regular tasks was to grab a role of stickers and stamp them with a date a month or so in the future. That library didn't make use of traditional due date cards but instead used small, easy to remove stickers that went inside the front cover of borrowed materials.

If I've just dated myself, know that this library was among the first to offer a receipt with all of the books borrowed by an account with their respective due dates.

Despite not ever actually having used due date cards in a library, I did end up with a massive pile of old ones from one of my jobs as a professional librarian. A boss found a stash of previously used ones in a closet and asked if I'd like them for a craft project. I took them, but they've been lost to the sands of time once again.

Much as we reminisce about loving library catalogs and all they represent, even if they're not part of a modern library, we do the same when it comes to due date cards. They're fun representations of the library, despite not being part of most contemporary libraries. I have a handful of blank, colorful due date cards that I use monthly to record my reading stats, as I find the lines the perfect place to space out the information I like to track. I get asked all the time where I got them, and the answer is simple: Etsy.

Book lovers who find themselves drawn to due date cards can find a huge array of due date card goods online, but here are some of the most fun, clever, and swoon-worthy options out there.

Image of a stack of white library due date cards.

Of course, we begin with the classic. Grab a stack of blank due date cards for whatever purpose you'd like for $4 and up.

Image of three bookmarks made from vintage library due date cards. Each of the bookmarks has a tassel and a pressed leaf in the center.

How perfect are these library card pressed leaf bookmarks? I love the handwriting, the stamps, and the bit of nature. $6 each.

Image of a white due date card with a quote from Peter Pan. It's lying on an open book.

Customize this library due date card keychain with anything your heart desires. I love that this one has a nice literary quote on it. $10

Dark blue scarf with white text and design of a due date card.

Pop this due date scarf around your neck next time you're visiting — or working in — your local library. $48 and up, with some color options. I'm into this dark blue.

Two small coasters for a car. Both have an image of a library due date stamp.

Car coasters are dumb, and I love the ones I have. Treat yourself to the dumbest little luxury with these due date card car coasters (say that ten times fast). $14 a set.

Pencil tin featuring due dat stamps

Who doesn't need a slick checkout card pencil case? $17

Image of three neckties with a due date pattern. All of the ties are cream colored and the text is black.

The most dapper library tie that you ever did see. Grab this in a few different colors and wear it with pride. $40 and up.

Image of a yellow memo pad on top of a map of Michigan. The memo pad is in the design of a checkout card.

I always have a little memo pad with me in my backpack, so it's little surprise how much I am feeling this checkout card memo pad. There are a few colors to choose from, including this classic yellow. $9

Image of two earrings designed like a library checkout card for the book Little Women. They're on a table.

Whether you're a big Little Women fan or not, how rad are these checkout card earrings? They're rad. $25 (If you'd prefer other book titles, the shop has a number of options).

Image of a cream color library due date style book plate.

Make sure your library books always return to you with these due date book plates. It's a downloadable file, so you can print and adhere to as many of your tomes as necessary. $2.50

Image of an ivory print on a brick wall. The print has an old style due date stamper at the top, with three images of how the due date card will look below.

This is so nerdy and so cool. Whether you want to download and print immediately or go fancy with a finished print and frame, this due date card stamper print is everything you love about book and library nerdery AND it'll make your wall look great. $7 and up, depending on how fancy you go.

Image of a rainbow of pillows designed like library cards.

Pick the perfect color and get cozy with these due date pillows. $30

While it's fun to revel in the nostalgia of old school libraries, that revelry should be paired with action to ensure equitable access to libraries and their resources. You can do that by learning about why police should not be in libraries, as well as learning about how to support your library through book challenges, among other vital library topics.