Hoarding is not collection development

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Science or Religion?

The Astronomy Book cover

The Astronomy Book
Henry
1999

Submitter: A patron donated The Astronomy Book, by Dr. Jonathan Henry (cover and select pages attached) to my library this week. At a glance, it seems like a harmless, if a little outdated, juvenile astronomy book. But woe betide the librarian who doesn’t dig deeper.  This “astronomy” book includes such claims as, “Satan uses the search for aliens and UFOs as a deception to keep many people from finding the true source of salvation” (p 75), and, “There is evidence  that the speed of light was much higher in the past, which means that the light we now see from the Andromeda Galaxy did not actually need 2 million years to reach us, but only a few thousand years” (p 55). Of course, the universe is only about 6,000 years old, and the short glossary includes helpful definitions such as, “Nebular hypothesis – the false belief that the solar system evolved from a cloud of gas” (p 78).

We won’t be including this donation in our collection, but a quick tour of World Cat showed that quite a few public libraries own this book. I understand the place of books like this in certain religious school libraries, but this book has so much potential for creating confusion among unsuspecting public library patrons and space enthusiasts who don’t pick up on the cover’s subtle clues!

Holly: This is a great example of why libraries have selection policies.  If this book matches your library’s mission, that’s great.  You have to look at items carefully to make that determination.

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Older Than God

Triumph God's Love coverTriumph of God’s Love
White
1957

Submitter: We are a state university in Connecticut, and we found this little gem while pulling hold requests today. Someone actually placed a hold on it… Besides being incredibly outdated, this wonderful piece of literature (thankfully!) has some very humorous illustrations. According to the illustrations in this book, Jesus has an issue with space exploration, and we will all happily spend eternity in the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz?

Holly: These illustrations absolutely SCREAM 1957!  I’d weed it in a public library for sure.  I can’t think of a compelling reason for a state university to keep it either, unless it is relevant for some reason.  (Sorry the pictures are so small – they were submitted that way.)

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Yossi’s Evil Urge

How Yossi Beat the Evil Urge
Chaikin & Mathers
1983

Submitter: When this book surfaced in the last weeding of my library’s children’s room, the current children’s librarian and I were aghast and befuddled by it’s title and it’s appearance. What is Yossi’s evil urge?! It sounds so ominous and well…dirty. What could Yossi be resisting?? The mind is full of possibilities. Could it be…no…it couldn’t be that… could it? And no it isn’t anything dirty or particularly evil in any way shape or form. Yossi’s evil urge is the urge to daydream and not focus on God when praying. I know, so benign and boring in the end. The library is located in neighborhood with a small Orthodox Jewish community but the fact that this 1983 book has survived in the library so long is really just wrong.

Holly: So the sewer monster is something Yossi is daydreaming about? Well, the author certainly hooks you with the title and cover art!  If it’s still circulating and in good shape, I guess it’s probably ok.  It’s a subject that probably not a lot of children’s books cover (or do they??).  If there’s something newer, in better shape, or with a less ominous title I’d weed this one too!