Library Date Stamps Fall out of Use

Updated on June 5, 2017

The Gentle Art of Stamping

A fixture of libraries since yesteryear the date stamp is now in the twilight of its years. The once ubiquitous stamp is now mostly replaced by receipts from self issue machines. The date stamp no longer holds the same place in the role of librarianship. Before you accuse me of being sentimental I want to paraphrase Utah Philips who said when your memory goes forget it. I want to mourn the passing of the humble date stamp before it slips unnoticed from the annals of librarianship.

Even though stamps evolved throughout time, the noise, although changing, has always maintained an air of efficient dignity. Aloof from the machinations of everyday life the click, clunk or thud of the date stamp acted as a warning to avoid lateness, a hint of penalty lying beneath its clip of efficiency. Sometimes a high click sometimes a low thudding, the stamp always broke through the silence acting as a rude reminder that the book is not yours to own. Now modern machines issue paper receipts that detail return dates with no noise at all. The nearest element to the stamp is the high ping as the machine acknowledges barcode or RFID tag.

As an itinerant librarian the sound of the stamp is one that has remained constant both in public and academic libraries. No matter whether I was visiting as a tourist, studying or working the stamp remained something that reminded me where I was – a library. No similar sound can be heard in a bookshop.

What now for the librarian who issued books using the stamp? That moment of finding the best place on the issue slip to place the stamp is replaced by what task? There can be none equal to stamping return dates.

Other things receding from the cosy view of librarianship include card index files, the closing bell and manual issue of books. Only cardigans remain!

Well I guess anything viewed from afar has the romantic glow. At a time when libraries are closing, services are being shared or changed to keep up with technology maybe it is natural to feel wistful for quieter times. As we hurtle on towards more and more high tech, bookless and noise filled libraries spare a though for the humble stamp. The stamp seems symbolic of times of order, a slower pace- or maybe I am just getting old?

However lest I think that the stamp is going out without a fight I note that my local library has a date stamp next to the self issue machine as the printer on the machine often does not work! Go date stamp we salute you!

© 2013 Anne McKenna


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)