You've completely missed the point. I didn't say "not many people use the card catalog". Read it again. I said "the card catalog is not the FIRST place most people look to search". That does NOT mean that not many people use it at all.
A standard search engine is the first option most people use, not because there is anything wrong with the card catalog but simply because a search engine is by nature quickest and easiest to use. The whole purpose of the card catalog is to find more specific collections to do more localized searches. By nature, people aren't going to do that first and foremost when they join the site. That's a secondary search method. And furthermore, the card catalog is design to do just that - provide you with more localized collections, not nation wide collections.
I had no problems finding and using the US City Directories. So why should I assume that "Jane" would?