Surprise Microfiche

Sexy Sex Stuff
Sweet Caroline

Cart of microfiche
What we have here is microfiche. Drawers and drawers of microfiche, placed on a cart to free up said drawers. (Ok, it was only two drawers, but they were deep, long drawers!)

Most of what you see here are popular magazines from the late 1970’s to the late 1980’s: Time, Business Week, The Atlantic, Forbes…you get the drift. My library must have kept an archive of this material back in the day. I knew it was there at one point, but had completely forgotten about it. Then one day I opened the wrong drawer on the microfilm cabinet and BAM! MICROFICHE! I was reminded that this stuff was still taking up residence. Just hanging out, about a decade’s worth of magazine microfiche and one Granger poetry reference series.

So I did the only thing I could do. I got a cart and loaded it up. It was heavy, you guys. That’s a lotta fiche!

The envelopes holding the individual slides are quite nice, though. I emptied about 50 or so and kept them for other uses.

Meanwhile, this stuff has got to go. There’s nothing of value here, so it will probably get recycled (although apparently the silver kind could be hazardous, so I first have to figure out what kind I have and then figure out who will take it.)

My library doesn’t even have a microfiche reader!



cart of microfiche

microfiche - Poetry in Granger


  1. We had the same problem at our library, and got rid of the microfiche about a year ago. We couldn’t even give the cabinet away because it was designed for microfiche only, microfilm didn’t fit in it and NOBODY wanted it.

  2. I spent 4 years filing fiche at a government library. A lot of government documents were sent that way. I wonder if they still are?

    Here in this academic library, we only have the Thesis Documents filmed in fiche for the archives. The printed copies stay with us.

    1. Oh, they still were at least a year or two ago. I’m at a super selective depository library and even though the fiche were off our selection profile for a while we had several drawers of fiche hiding out. (We also had drawers and drawers of technical report fiche from the 70s and 80s that were never cataloged and we haven’t had a reader for fiche in years to even bother cataloging the stuff now so they were deaccessioned.)

  3. But it’s a priceless treasure trove! Someone should scan it! We must save it! Put it on the web!… Oh, wait… We probably can’t do that because copyright blah blah. Oh, well… I hope you find a place to recycle it all into fabulous objets d’art. 🙂

  4. Craft time! Check with the YA folk to see if they can devise a clever craft to use this stuff up. Collage of history just pops into my head. But spinner-y things for mobiles could be a possibility. If they look at you aghast, then it is off to the mighty microfiche mutilator in the sky.

  5. Heads-up: you don’t necessarily want to “trash” this. There were (still are?) companies that would recycle black-and-white film negatives and prints for the silver content within, especially x-ray film. I’m not sure whether microfiche is of a photographic nature that uses silver-based film, but if it is that’s a pile that might actually garner some money. The ALA has a page about this:

  6. You might want to talk to the internet archive. They take books for scanning, perhaps they take microfiche.

  7. Oh geez, we just had a guy in this weekend looking for microfiche because his teacher (a college professor) required microfiche as a resource and the internet was strictly off limits. At the end of the exchange I didn’t know which was worse – the professor’s requirement or the fact that no matter how many times I told the guy he needed to talk to the librarian because I’m just a clerk and didn’t know any libraries that have microfiche still (turns out, two still do) but the librarian would know how to look that up he just stood there explaining over and over again he needed to use it, holding up the people behind him.

  8. From a state archives here, we have plenty of microfiche. It took a grant-funded 18 months to finally go through it once and for all recently. Plenty of odd things were found, it appears that during some past decades fiche was kind of treated like Xerox copies. Because the agency could create fiche, they used it to save copies of anything that seemed vaguely important (whether or not they actually created it). Fun fact: the word “fiche” comes from the French for “card” (even more:

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