Hoarding is not collection development

But it’s Historical!

Old stuff, textbooks, past events, etc.

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Negroes in a Soviet America

The Negroes in a Soviet America

Submitter: Time travel back to 1935 and Communism with this title. Found in my local library. I could see an argument for keeping this in a research or academic library. But a small urban library?

Holly: It’s so important to keep these materials. This is a viewpoint in history that probably not a lot of people are aware of. Does it belong on the regular old circulating non-fiction shelves in a small library? Probably not. Either catalog it as part of a special collection (and then archive and/or preserve it properly) or give it to a library that can.

More Wrongly Placed History:

Great American Negroes

Great Negroes Past and Present

Must We Bus

Cotton and the Spinner

Continue reading


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?

Continue reading

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