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CMC: Cataloging Library History

Published : Jul 13, 2021
The CMC Catalogs

Cataloging Library History

5 photos of the Dixon Public Library on a mat board.

The Cataloging Maintenance Center (CMC) was asked to catalog a series of old photographs for the Dixon Public Library they found in the basement. The photographs were mounted on mat board and date back to the late 1800s or early 1900s. One of the exciting things about finding these photographs is that the architect for the library, Morrison H. Vail, is shown seated at one of the reading tables.

O. B. Dodge, the first president of the library board, approached the city council on Aug. 4, 1899, and offered to build a library on Hennepin Avenue, between Second and Third streets. It was known as the O.B. Dodge Library Building and officially opened in 1899. The architect for the structure was Morrison H. Vail of Dixon, assisted by W.H. Otis of Chicago. The contractor was W.J. McAlpine of Dixon.

When first opened, the building had a balcony and balustrade, which had electric torches in all four corners. There were two bookcases on the balcony for reference works. Staff could communicate from the balcony to the lower floor using a speaking tube and electric bell. (There was formerly a skylight which has since been removed). The adult and children’s departments were on the main floor. The basement, where the children's department was later located, served as janitor's quarters.




CMC Cataloging Maintenance Center - Statewide Cataloging Support.

The Cataloging Maintenance Center is helping Illinois libraries catalog special collections to make them available to the public. If you have a special collection that needs to be cataloged, the CMC may be able to help. Contact them at 618.656.3216 x503 or visit the CMC webpage.


Funding for the Cataloging Maintenance Center is provided through the Illinois State Library and the Secretary of State and administered by Illinois Heartland Library System. The CMC provides statewide cataloging support for Illinois libraries, including free original and copy cataloging of eligible special collections, consultation on metadata projects, database cleanup for LLSAPs, cataloging training, and more. Learn more at