Submitter: I had completely forgotten about the blog hysteria of a decade ago, and this was confused when I came across this title in the “Current Controversies” series for high school students (so not really suitable for our college library, but that’s another issue). I could not fathom how kitten pics and *cough* library books could constitute a “controversy.” Apparently back them we thought blogs would upset the balance of civil life and undermine the social order. Little did we know that would actually be Twitter. I’m going to use this example to show my staff that bad books aren’t always super old. This is a ten year old title and it’s already eight years too old.
Holly: Goodness knows that Mary and I are accused of ruining civilization on a semi-daily basis with our little dog and pony show here. We started ALB in 2009, and the accusations are going strong in 2018! Out of curiosity, I took a look at the Opposing Viewpoints database to see if blogs or blogging is included as a category. It isn’t…but “fake news in social media” is there. That makes sense – Submitter nailed it with Twitter as their example. So, we’ll carry on with business as usual here at ALB, ruining civilization one weeded book at a time.
Submitter: A student brought the following book to our attention for review and weeding…because he wanted it. Why is this book awful? Well, it is a book that claims to be the most important book since The Bible. It is bad science fiction from 1979. We are an academic library so I’m not sure why we still had the book. My guess is that it was hiding among the quality science fiction.
Holly: I had to dig a bit to figure this one out. It is a fiction book that is formatted like a non-fiction catalog of alien beings. The author is a horror film critic. So, unless you have a run on sci-fi about intergalactic confederations and alien life, you can probably let this one go now. It might have done well in a teen department in a public library in the early 1980s, but it seems like an odd choice for an academic library.
Submitter: This is another children’s book that was initially pulled because of its condition. It has had a lot of circulation since it was acquired in 1989 but only 2 circulations in 20 years. On closer inspection, the book sent up all kinds of red flags. The “story” is about a group of boys who are friends told through poetry. The book could easily be renamed “Boys will be boys,” but it is pretty hard to excuse the bad behavior described in the book. They pick on and make fun of other children, attempt smoking, fight, break windows, pick noses, etc. Harvey has the worst behavior and goes so far as to tie two of his friends to a tree and pull their pants down! Finally, the other boys become fed up with Harvey and decide to roll him down the hill.
I have a pretty low tolerance for books that actual encourage bullying and hurting of kids by other kids. I suppose at one time this could have been nostalgic or even a boys will be boys kind of book, but not anymore.
Holly: Awwww, Jack Prelutsky was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid <*cough* 30+ years ago *cough*>. His books are funny and the poetry format is enticing to reluctant readers. That said, bullying is a serious subject. Rolling Harvey down the hill in retaliation probably isn’t the message we’re trying to send these days. Not that it ever was, but we have different sensibilities about these things now than we did in 1980.