Hoarding is not collection development
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Everything for the ladies from health, beauty, understanding your man and self-help.

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Questions Women Ask

Submitter: This book was actually brought to my attention because it was identified as “rare” by one of our consortia and included in a list of books recommended for retention. Upon reviewing the book it became instantly clear that the book was rare not because of its significance, but because no other academic library in its right mind would have held onto a book like this for almost 50 years! I guess one of the benefits of never weeding our collection is that we have held onto rare gems like this awful library book.

Reading this book is almost like going into a time machine. Not only are both the questions asked and the advice given dated, their specificity situates them within a clear social and historical setting. Concerns about radioactive milk bring to the fore fears of the Cold War while questions concerning how to properly address divorced women demonstrate uncertainty around “acceptable” behavior and choices for women at a time when the women’s liberation movement was not yet a battle won.

In the end, it is hard to claim that this book is truly awful as it appears to be in earnest. The views it represents are clearly those of another era and if nothing else it is a good reminder of just how far we’ve come.

Holly: Thank you, Submitter. Awful “library” books are not necessarily awful books. This is definitely an awful “library” book because it is so dated and the information so irrelevant. I have found all kinds of books in the collections I manage in my library that are marked with the word “retain.” That never means forever! Every item in the collection has to be re-evaluated periodically for currency, relevancy, authority, condition, etc. If I’m going to keep a book in the collection, it won’t be because a librarian ten or twenty years ago marked it for retention. And if I’m going to weed it, that certainly won’t stop me.

More Questions Women Ask:

Success and Guilt

How to be a more interesting woman

A Woman’s World (as told by a man)

Keeping Hubby Happy

What’s Going on in that Pretty Little Head of Yours?

Aggressive or Assertive?

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Advice from Zsa Zsa

Zsa Zsa Gabor - cover

How to Catch a Man
How to Keep a Man
How to Get Rid of a Man

Youngsters, you probably don’t remember the Gabor sisters. They were kind of like proto-Kardashians. Zsa Zsa and her sister Eva were Hollywood glitterati from the old days. Both sisters racked up quite a few husbands and had minor acting credits. (Eva, probably the best known from the show Green Acres, and both showed up on the old Hollywood Squares occasionally.) Zsa Zsa gives all her womanly advice in this rather uninteresting book of quotes. I get the feeling this was more publicity stunt than actual book. She even states on the inside flap that the advice is “inconsistent” and “not logical.” No argument here.

Excuse me while I retrieve my feather boa from the dry cleaner.



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The New Pregnancy


The New Pregnancy
The Active Woman’s Guide to Work, Legal Rights, Health Care, Travel, Sports, Dress, Sex and Emotional Well-Being
Lichtendorf and Gillis

I am quite sure this book was quite “edgy” in its time.  My mom had her last baby in 1970. My mom tried to talk to the doctor about her delivery and I believe the repsonse was to just shut up and let him do his job. I think my mom is still pissed at the doctor.

I could argue that by 1990, and my first child, there was some improvement.  Pregnant employees still weren’t treated with open arms by employers.

I would put it in the category of books like Our Bodies, Ourselves. For an archive collection, maybe it’s a keeper, but for a public library, weed it.

Glad to be out of the baby business,


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