Department of God
Religious living and advice
Religious living and advice
Today’s post features a teen devotional out to help kids see through all the lies. The kids on the cover are late 80s at best and probably remind today’s teens of Mom and Dad’s high school photos. I would imagine any teen shopping in the 200s will just walk on by this title. Teen religious materials are popular in my library, but like all things they age quickly.(Now, I am willing to bet that someone will write me and say that we believe Bibles should be weeded.) I also think there is a lack of decent writing in inspirational nonfiction for teens. I get the scenarios but I keep thinking the advice is bad. I also think the author needs to tone down the “lies are everywhere” rhetoric. Some of my more religious pals back in high school would have absolutely disliked the obnoxious teen preaching about the evils of evolution.
Submitter: We’re a small academic library, for a small non-traditional-student-focused college. The college’s programs mostly center around human services degrees. And we’ve spent this summer (3 librarians and the director) aggressively weeding our collection for what seems like the first time in 30 years. This one was in the R (medicine) section of our collection, which is focused on counseling/therapy/people-centered; it stuck out like a sore thumb. (Or possibly one sore thumb on a sore hand.)
The title is deceptively positive; the hope referred to is the same as in the sentence, “Oh, I hope you’ve considered not being gay.” Doctor Van Den Aaardweg is a PHd, noted on the back cover as “specializing in the treatment of homosexuality”. He spends the book describing, in entirely serious and clinical terms, the “homosexual complex” and why gay people are allegedly just neurotics crying out for attention.
(And have I mentioned the very 80s, very heinous graphic design of the cover?)
We tried a little bit to get into the mindset of whichever previous librarians purchased this for our library (hopefully not recently). That maybe it was perhaps purchased in the spirit of covering all bases, despite the fact that even in 1985 the science behind it was dubious. What makes it an Awful Library Book is that it managed to survive in our library until 2012, a slim and cheery-looking volume actually full of pseudo-science and bigotry.
Have included the top half of the title page, with some entertaining library book vandalism…
Holly: And I’ve censored said vandalism so I can include it here. Sorry, folks. I’ll happily share the original with anyone who wants it (though trust me, you get the idea from the picture I’ve included below). I understand that libraries want to cover all bases, as the submitter mentioned. Another perfect example of why we need to weed.
Mary: Homosexuality was removed from the DSM in 1973. Clearly, this guy didn’t keep up on the literature
Holly: This book was submitted from a Catholic school. That was certainly an appropriate place for it…57 years ago. Now it’s ridiculous for most libraries. It gives advice for talking on telephone party lines. It also says (last image below) that meals are usually served at no cost on airplanes, and that if you smoke while on a plane, you should be courteous to those around you.
Mary: I get a kick out of old etiquette books and some of the super cool advice the old school nuns handed out. This whole book got my husband and I talking about Cheech and Chong’s bit called Sister Mary Elephant. I found a clip on Youtube (you can click here for a listen) and the series of books Last Catholic in America by John Powers which have been re-released by Loyola Press. Remember, Jesus loves well-behaved children best of all. Continue reading