Dan Wagner of the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Department correctly identified these as the rods that held cards in the drawers of the library’s card catalog:
Congratulations, Professor Wagner! No doubt you spent many happy hours in the library as a lad. Your awesome calendar will arrive by campus mail.
True confession: I couldn’t figure this out myself. Someone else had to explain it to me.
I also confess that I loved the other guesses.
Wish I’d seen the mystery photo sooner, I would have known right away! As a student library worker, and then, after graduation, as a library tech. Then, after library school, as an actual Rice librarian…’way back in the days of card catalogs! Well, for sure the rods were very familiar pieces of equipment.
One of my jobs as a student and a tech was to file new cards in the catalog. The filing rules were unbelievably complex, plus you had to have a passing knowledge of, at least, what the articles were in any number of languages so that you could omit them in filing. There was a very nice, quite elderly lady cataloger, who was in charge of all us filers. She checked all of the filing and explained arcane filing problems to us. I seem to think that her name was Mrs. Canterbury, but that might be a “memory” caused by a cross-circuit with a survey of English lit course. I’m sure she’s gone to the great catalog in the sky by now, but I always remember her fondly as she was both such an expert but at the same time a patient explainer.
If you have any late 1960’s-early 1970’s library questions in the future, I hope I’ll be quick enough to get the answers to you first!
If I had been more observant, noting the drawer sitting beside the mystery objects, I undoubtedly would have me a new calendar.
However, if a bullfrog had wings …
It might be fun to hear the guesses.
My days as president of the library club in high school have finally paid off!
I’ve got a spot picked out in my office, right above the Catalyst archives: