Hoarding is not collection development

Condition/Processing Fail

This category addresses those Awful Library Books that have a problem with condition or poor processing.

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Fix It or Forget It?

Men in groups

Submitter: Today’s submission is one of the worse condition books I have ever seen on a shelf. I know budgets are stretched thin, but there seems little reason to put so much effort in to this paperback. First the offending branch library glued cardboard to the covers. Then they used bookbinding, electrical, and scotch tape to adhere the covers back on. All for this book???

Holly: Seriously? If it takes more time and materials to fix something than the book is worth, perhaps we should pause before fixing it. Please empower your book repair staff to question you before they just go ahead and fix your books. If this book is worth keeping, then REPLACE IT. Get a new one. (Or take advantage of Google Books.) It very well may be worth replacing in a university library, since Lionel Tiger is an important man in the field of anthropology, but probably not in a public library branch. The Submitter’s branch library can probably let it go completely.

More Condition and Processing Failures:

How Ironic!

All that was left was a carcass

RIP Anne of Green Gables

When Bad Things Happen to Innocent Library Books

Try Not to Take it Out on the Book

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How Ironic!

The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works!

Submitter: A colleague put this recently circulated item in my mailbox; it cannot go back on the shelves in its newly damaged condition. You can see the scribble marks on the front, and inside covers. She also put the post-it note on the book, noting the wonderful irony of this typically very frustrating occurrence for all librarians. How great to turn a negative into humor. Unfortunately, Mr. Rosemond, well-respected in his field, will have a slight ding to his reputation due to this child’s artwork.

Holly: I love this. Too, too funny. It’s a perfectly fine book and a great choice for public libraries. I’m sure Mr. Rosemond is truly “America’s Most Widely Read Parenting Expert” and has many, many successes to his credit. There’s always one, though, isn’t there?

More Parenting Advice:

Family Survival for Middle Schoolers

Children: The Challenge

Prevent Kidnapping With Stories


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Turn That Frown Upside Down

Hot Day on Abbott Avenue

Submitter: I am in the PZ’s in our collection (children’s fiction) doing shelf reading and collection development (a.k.a. weeding primarily) and found this beauty (note the sarcasm).  You never would have known the problem -until you opened the book.  The outside is in perfect condition, and has all the technical processing in the right order, including the pocket for the checkout card. What everyone failed to notice however, was that the entire block of text was put in UPSIDE DOWN!!!  It didn’t help that the end pages were of a solid yellow-orange color, masking the problem just on the other side.

The only reason why I found out was because I opened the text to see if it was worth keeping.  You see, being a rural community college, we don’t have the funding to be able to purchase fiction (unless it is part of a required/recommended reading list for a class, or a patron has requested that specific title –we try to honor patron requests when we get them, which isn’t that often-), so we tend to hold onto what we have far longer than its shelf life.  But sometimes if it just looks bad, or is just a badly written story, it won’t get checked out, and makes the shelves look bad, and harder to find the titles you DO want.

Holly: And THIS, my friends, is why a physical inventory is a must from time to time. Put your hands on the materials and don’t rely solely on ILS reports for weeding!  Side note: this book was not a bad choice for this library at all! Maybe the publisher would have replaced it if it had been noticed, say, ten years ago. Is it possible it checked out steadily for ten years and no one bothered to mention that it is printed upside down? At this point, IF it has been circulating steadily, I’d keep it. If it has gone ten years unnoticed and untouched, weed it.

More Processing Failures:

Immature Humor Alert

RIP Anne of Green Gables

When Bad Things Happen to Innocent Library Books

Try Not to Take it Out On the Book

Continue reading

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