When I saw this title in a library catalog I was searching, I thought it must be a book of humorous essays about cats. I like a cat story as much as the next librarian, so I requested it through interlibrary loan. I should have read the subtitle more carefully, though, because this book is absolutely serious! It explains that some breeds are smarter than others, and how you can find out what your cat’s IQ is.
The idea that some animals are generally more intelligent than others is nothing new, and I can even get on board with the idea that like people, some cats are more intelligent than other cats. I can even think of specific people who would take the time and trouble to score their cat’s IQ. There is definitely an audience for this book, and the public library in which it was found is even a reasonable place for it.
So, it’s not an awful library book at all! I’m featuring it here because it’s a little quirky, and because what I assumed was a joke turned out to be a real thing. I’m not sure what you are supposed to actually do with the information once you score your cat’s IQ, but if you’d like to know, this is the book for you.
I’m pretty sure Mary’s cats are both eligible for Mensa. Smart little critters.
Submitter: We’re in the midst of a big shifting project, and as I was making my way through the 920s, I came across this gem – Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Genealogy – year 2000! At some point fairly recently it had been REBOUND, so I don’t have a nice cover to show you. As the librarian in charge of the computer books in the 004s, I was appalled and immediately withdrew it, but we still have a copy in our Genealogy Reference section. Sure, there are some still relevant tips for online genealogy sources, but the information is so out-of-date, this can’t be very useful. Check out the pages that talk about how dial-up works and the handy search engines Alta Vista and Hotbot. Since our Genealogy section will also have to be downsized, I’m hoping to talk them into getting rid of their copy, too.
Holly: Hotbot! I remember that one. Just because a book has *some* useful information in it does not make it a keeper. You have to consider the book as a whole, and this one is too old to be useful. Some patrons would follow a book like this step-by-step, and then call the reference desk, frustrated, saying “the book said to go to Hotbot, but my computer doesn’t have The Hotbot! Should I install it? Can I get it on The Facebook?” I like the Complete Idiot’s Guides, but they’re not helpful to newbies on any subject if they’re this outdated.
Submitter: An entire book that is a treatise on proving that Rush Limbaugh is a “prophet of political conservatism in America.” (page 15) Yet, there is this pesky quote of Rush’s, “The show is devoted exclusively to what I think. I do not attempt to find out what the people of the country are thinking.” This book is filled with with gems that bring people together such as The White Man’s Burden, homosexuals portraying themselves as victims and women not being fit to serve in the military.
The coup de grâce is this quote “So multiculturalism, which portrays American history and even all of Western civilization as nothing but misery and racist, sexist, capitalist oppression, is the tool of revenge of man who have failed to assimilate and fit into the mainstream American Life.”
Holly: Before everyone piles on, and I’m sure Submitter would agree, this book was probably not the worst choice for a public library serving a politically conservative, Christian community in the early 1990s. In fact, any public library building a truly viewpoint-balanced collection in the 90s, no matter what demographics they served, might have had this. That said, Submitter’s examples are definitely eyebrow-raising for many (myself included, although that is honestly beside the point). I’d weed it because it is old and no longer circulating, not because I disagree with its contents.