The card catalog drawers at Doheny Library haven’t had cards in them for years. They are built into the wall of a charming alcove off to the left of the circulation desk. Removing them would not necessarily be difficult, but the aesthetics of the little space they occupy is quite enjoyable and older alumni love to regale us with tales of how they spent hours there transcribing titles, call numbers, etc.
Rather than remove the drawers, we have instituted a new use: fundraising. Enter the Top Drawer Society. Donors who contribute $10,000 at one time or over four years and are honored with an engraved plaque placed on one of the drawers. Simple enough. But what we did not expect was that donors would use these drawers to leave secret gifts to their children/grandchildren/etc. who are currently attending USC. So this past month, we added locks and keys to all the drawers and hence begins what I hope will be a long and cherished tradition of gift giving down and across generations of library patrons.
By the way, a card catalog drawer is the perfect size for storing wine bottles. Just sayin’.