Awful Library Books

Hoarding is not collection development


Taking Your Library Career to the Next Level
PLA Weeding Manual
Making a Collection Count

Get Ready for Your Alien Date!

alien contact

Preparing for Contact: A Metamorphosis of Consciousness
Royal and Priest

I am all about the books on Bigfoot, aliens, ghosts, and other assorted weirdness. They are a lot of fun and they generally circulate pretty well. This one got me because of the cover. Who doesn’t love the romance of this “close encounter”?

This particular book is more about the experience and reads like bad philosophy/self help. I was kind of disappointed. I want my books on aliens to be less personal growth and more about the story.


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Easter Eggs for Everyone

Easter Eggs for Everyone coverEaster Eggs for Everyone

Submitter: It’s more than you would ever want to know about decorating Easter eggs (including Egg Lore and Legends and Egg Customs), and it has some very non-PC text. Intro page is cleverly shaped like an egg (see photo) but you get to the second paragraph and…

Easter eggs for the retarded

Under the heading Easter Eggs and the Special Child: the “seriously handicapped need not be deprived…”
And later still (see photo), simple decorations “for use with ‘small people’”!   So I’m guessing that would be children?
Page 31-“an artistically inclined housewife, feeling trapped in the suburbs, might get just the lift she needs by trying peephole eggs…” [eyebrow raise]
Page 44-“children who are not feeling well should not assist in egg-blowing.” DUH.

Holly: Those are some pretty specific examples, but they did say everyone! The cover looks like it might be a really cool book. This is a good reminder that even books about seemingly innocuous subjects like crafts need to be considered in light of current sensibilities.

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For the Birds

Birds of North America coverA Guide to Field Identification: Birds of North America
Robbins, Bruun, and Zim

Submitter: In addition to being a librarian, I’m a bird geek – and being a librarian bird geek, I have a long-standing personal beef with out-of-date field guides. This doesn’t mean beautiful, illustrated classics like Audubon, but a basic guide you would borrow to take on a hike. Recent genetic research has made sweeping changes to the taxonomic order of birds – this lists species in an evolutionary sequence from most ancient to most modern. Every serious bird field guide is organized in taxonomic order. There have also been many changes to both the scientific (i.e. Latin) and common names of birds… and unlike most living things, birds have official, standardized names (in English at least). Example: on page 58 of this guide, you will find a duck called “Oldsquaw.” What you won’t find in this 1966 Golden edition is that the name Oldsquaw – which bats for the triple on ageism, sexism and racism – was changed decades ago to “Long-tailed Duck.” This book also contains “Traill’s Flycatcher,” which has been split into several species, and five different types of sparrows called Juncos. Our Juncos have long since been lumped together into one species – Dark-eyed Junco. The saddest part of this story is: this book was added to the collection of my small public library (not by me!) around *2008* when this edition was *already* hopelessly out of date. ‘Bye, Felicia. Do your public library patrons a favor and conduct the Oldsquaw/Traill’s/Junco test on your bird guides.

Holly: I don’t think it takes a bird geek to figure out that you don’t add a 1966 field guide to a small public library collection in 2008. Submitter points out all the reasons why bird geeks will think this is ridiculous – and it is.

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