National Union Catalog Christmas Tree 2014


The National Union Catalog (NUC) is a list of all books, pamphlets, maps, atlases and music in the Library of Congress as well as major works in over 750 other libraries across the United States and Canada.  Before the Internet, the National Union Catalog was the only way to find books in nearby libraries for Interlibrary Loan.  Even though these searches can now be done quickly through a library’s website or WorldCat, the NUC is still important because as of 2005, an estimated 27% of books from before 1956 only be found in the National Union Catalog!


In 1901, the Library of Congress began a cooperative program with the New York Public Library, the Boston Library, the Harvard University Library and the John Crerar Library to exchange information about the books and other materials each institution held.  This program quickly grew to include the Newberry Library, the libraries of the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago, in addition to many others across the country.  In 1963, the Library of Congress decided to publish these records on all materials published before 1956.  The resulting NUC: Pre-1956 Imprints is sometimes referred to as the “Mansell” in reference to the publisher.  The 754 volume set was published over a period of 13 years and weighs around a ton and a half!

The NUC Christmas Tree

The first Christmas tree created from the National Union Catalog was created in 2006 at the University of Aalborg Library in Aalborg, Denmark.  Since then, the tradition has spread with NUC Christmas trees appearing in the libraries of Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, the University of Nevada at Reno and Minnesota State University.  The tradition has become particularly popular at the University of San Francisco’s Gleeson Library.

Tips for a Green Christmas:

  • Check out this great tips page with fun solutions to making Christmas a greener family events.
  • Pinterest has a wide variety of craft ideas, check out some ofthese pins for fun solutions to making a festive and low waste holiday home.

Alternatives to a traditional Christmas tree:

  • Books aren’t the only materials around your house that can be turned into a Christmas tree.  Here is a list of DIY trees to fit many styles and budgets.

Sustainable Gift Wrappings:

Green Gifts:

  • When it comes to gifts, some of these suggestions are not only a very personalized but some are just as much fun to make/find as they are for the recipient to receive them!

Our tree was designed by Bryan Deziel and constructed by Jill Bambenek, Elena Maans, Isabelle Ryan and Bryan Deziel using over 500 volumes of the 754 Pre-1956 Imprints.  The National Union Catalog Tree is a good example of repurposing materials to create a sustainable tree for the Crown Library.  The volumes of the Union Catalog used to create this tree will be returned to the collection after the holiday season.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s