Hoarding is not collection development

But it’s Historical!

Old stuff, textbooks, past events, etc.

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Witchcraft Today

Witchcraft Today

Submitter: A 1974 reprint of the 1954 book Witchcraft Today by Gerald B. Gardner acquired by our library in 1975 for $4.15.  Based on the number of check-outs then and now we have gotten our money’s worth.

The author is (was) the Director, the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft, The Witches Mill, Castletown, Isle of Man. In his forward he explains he was asked by the witches of England to “Write and tell people we are not perverts.  We are decent people, we only want to be left alone, but there are certain secrets that you mustn’t give away.”   The book reveals only what he has been permitted to share from the covens of England.

The museum is still open, google is your friend if you are interested.

Holly: Well, friends, since this post was so popular, let’s go again! The cover looks horrible, so it fails on condition. It’s almost 40 years old, so it fails on currency. If a university needs it for some reason, they should think about preserving it better than this so it continues to be useful. The tape on the spine is peeling up too.  There is a 2004 edition available, and that would be a much better option for most libraries, even if it only reveals certain secrets.



More Witchraft of “Today”:

Witches, Potions, and Spells



Great American Negroes

Great American Negroes
1945, 1956

Submitter: This year, the school I work at decided to start a book club where we are reading a book about helping students become better readers. We were discussing the sorry state of our high school library and I mentioned how half the books could go on the blog Awful Library Books. At the end of the book club I said I was going to find a truly awful book. One of the first books I grabbed was “Great American Negroes,” by Ben Richardson. We were horrified and decided we could weed this one ourselves. The spine is truly awful.

Holly: Yes, it is. It isn’t 1956 any more, people. There isn’t much reason for a high school library to hang on to something like this. It went from a celebration of a culture of great people to downright disrespectful. There is rarely a reason to keep something “because it’s historical” in a high school library. It’s not a museum.



More Historical Horrors:

Great Negroes Past and Present

Wigwam and Warpath

Cotton and the Spinner

Must We Bus?

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Be Prepared!

Boy Scout Handbook
Boy Scouts of America

Submitter:  My son brought back a book from his elementary school library that is just awful. The library is nice, they just completely remodeled it with a grant from Target, but some of the books on the shelf have been there since almost when the school opened in 1955. This one was old when I went to school there in the 1980’s and is ancient now! My son was looking for a book on knot-tying, so he brought home the Boy Scouts manual, but it is a 1964 edition and the last 20 or so pages are mostly ads for guns!

Holly: This is just laziness. I can’t believe that any library worker truly believes that this book is valuable to a modern-day elementary school library. It’s cool in a nostalgia kind of way, but that doesn’t make it useful. The first image below advises young men who “cause emissions themselves” to avoid things that make them worry. And such behavior may cause them to worry…so they really shouldn’t do that. The gun ads are probably not in modern Boy Scout handbooks either, though I don’t know that to be a fact. Boy Scouts? Want to weigh in?

More Books for Boys:

Boys in the Kitchen

Boys, do you have a “calling”?

Gender Specific Survival

Don’t Let Someone Kick Sand in Your Face!

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