Great Men of India cover

Great Men of India

Great Men of India, Including Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi
Williams
1985

Submitter: I work at an international school library in India, and the collection development philosophy in the India section seemed to be: “Never throw anything away. Ever.” The dusty, damaged, and out of date outnumber the relevant, unfortunately, so I’ve decided it’s time to take a deep breath and dive in. These are just some of today’s treasures, including my favorite of the day: Great Men of India, Including Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi […]. It’s not the oldest, or most inaccurate, or even the most damaged. I’m just amazed that in 1985 people thought that “men” was a non-gender-specific term.

Holly: They even put a woman on the cover! If this isn’t the most damaged, then I’d hate to see the rest of the collection.

dressing smart

Smart Dressing

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Style
Dressing Smart
Satron
1990

For all those ladies that are now liberated, you need to dress the part of the powerful woman executive. This book has got your back. Filled with career profiles and style advice, you can now look the successful woman you want to be. Shoulder pads are optional.

Aside from the dated fashion, I will give this book props for trying for a more realistic set up when it comes to style. They do feature actual career/professional women wearing their particular style. The featured executives are all sporting fashion that is appropriate for the profession. Maybe this is sort of a “dress for the job you want” type of book. This book features only executive level positions. Those in the middle or at the bottom rungs won’t find much help here.

teen childbirth cover

Teen Childbirth Help

Teen Guide To Childbirth
Brown
1989

This is pretty much a basic childbirth manual. It assumes that this teen has all sorts of resources, dutifully gets prenatal care, and has support from family and the baby’s father. There isn’t any judgment about being married or shame cast on the teen mother. Unfortunately, that is about the only thing that is good. The reality is that there is probably 1% of all teen mothers that have the resources and choices in this book.

There are some pretty big questions left unanswered: How will I support myself? Where will I find help with child care? How am I going to pay for a hospital and prenatal care? Even if you can get beyond the outdated information, the couple pictures are just wrong. The first picture has a guy pushing 30 which brings a whole new level of ick to this book.

Green Wiccan herbal cover

Green Wiccan Herbal

The Green Wiccan Herbal: 52 Magical Herbs, Spells, Witchy Rituals
Silja
2009

Submitter: I’m sure there’s a place for this in a public library and my library has a few more books on the Wiccan/Wicca lifestyle. I can honestly say I have no idea how to apply any of the suggestions in the book and am too afraid to ask anyone. I’m sure there is no harm in trying to follow the suggestions in the book with no knowledge right?

Holly: What could possibly go wrong? Look, I have no issue with books about Wicca or Wiccan practices in libraries. This was even reviewed as being “well-suited for beginners or those only interested in basic kitchen witchery.” However, it either has a weird design or someone spilled something on every page.

Great Ancestor Hunt cover

The Great Ancestor Hunt

The Great Ancestor Hunt: The Fun of Finding Out Who You Are
Perl
1989

Submitter: Public middle school library in the USA. This one is just… so outdated. It’s not a subject any of my students have expressed interest in, but if they did I would not give them this book! It’s fairly general: write down what you already know, ask and interview older relatives. It takes a weird turn when it says almost all Americans are immigrants, and some might argue that “American Indians” are newcomers to the Americas via the land bridge a “mere” 15,000 years ago.  Writing the Census Bureau, and many other government bodies, is recommended, what with the Internet not being a thing yet. Also lacking is any mention of DNA testing for ancestry.  30 years old and it’s gone!

Holly: It’s definitely too old to be a useful how-to genealogy book. As submitter points out, the Internet is a thing now, for starters. It is a good idea to interview older relatives, but I agree that that’s pretty general, even for middle schoolers. Kids who may be inspired to try a new hobby, or who have a family tree project for school won’t get enough info here!

Koehler Method cover

The Koehler Method

The Koehler Method of Dog Training
Koehler
1962

Submitter: I am sure the guy was probably a top-notch dog trainer, but some of this seems a bit harsh to me. Especially if you’re just getting a puppy, stopping by the library and picking up a training manual… The book even starts with an affidavit, that is referenced many times throughout the book: “Read the affidavit again!” He especially emphasizes this when recommending electrocution, taping your own mouth shut, or “pussyfooting around points of contention”. I have never owned a dog, but this guy sure makes it look like military training.

Holly: There is definitely some controversy surrounding this method. The book is from 1962, so either way it is old enough to be seriously considered for weeding. Also, it looks like a super boring book on dog training! Aren’t there any pictures of cute puppies anywhere in this thing? Even the cover photos have miserable-looking dogs. It isn’t the most inspiring manual, for sure.

saving your business

Saving your business

Saving Your Business
How to Survive Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and Successfully Reorganize Your Company
Caplan
1992

I really have an issue with business materials this old in a public library collection. This particular book is closing in on 30 years. Even if the process hasn’t changed much, that attorney billing rate in the second picture below is almost cute. There have been changes to bankruptcy laws since 1992. Notably, the Bankruptcy Act of 1994 and the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer protection act (BAPCPA) of 2005. It truly is important to consider the impact of out of date information. Choosing to file bankruptcy is complex. Chapter 11 might not be the best answer for some kinds of businesses.

Weed. Like yesterday.

Mary

Always in Style cover

Always in Style

Always in Style with Color Me Beautiful
Pooser
1985

Submitter: Not sure which is more awful … that this book is still available at a library in our system or that one of my patrons requested it.

Holly: I think the “always” in the title is stretching it a bit! This book – this 1985 edition – is available at NINE libraries in Michigan. Whyyyyy?

The lady on the cover doesn’t actually look too bad, but I wonder what horrors await inside this thing? Anyone want to share some internal pics? (We’ll update the post if you do!) Also, I’m generally a fashion “don’t,” so don’t take my word for it that she doesn’t look bad…