Hoarding is not collection development
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Ladies only!

Everything for the ladies from health, beauty, understanding your man and self-help.

Home Repair for the Ladies

Home Repairs Any Woman Can Do coverHome Repairs Any Woman Can Do
Philbin
1973

Submitter: [This] book so obviously dismisses females as able to perform home maintenance. Besides that, the book seems to contain useful information for any homeowner not exactly knowledgeable about construction, plumbing, electrical wiring, and such, regardless of gender. I would not say your “average” male is completely up to code on his TV repair skills either, even accounting for the time period!

Holly: This was a great choice for a public library in 1973 (although I’m not sure the community college in which it was found was ever the ideal place for it). It could have been weeded by the early 1980s at the latest. What was probably empowering in the 70s is demeaning and insulting today.

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Chicken Lamaze

Lamaze is for Chickens coverLamaze is for Chickens: A Guide to Prepared Childbirth
Green & Naab
1985

Submitter: This book was recently weeded from [a] Community Library in [Wisconsin]. Not only is it falling apart and thirty years old, but it is also a childbirth guide featuring cartoon chickens. I mean, come on! Imagine the meetings in which this book seemed like a good idea!
Lamaze is for Chickens: A Guide to Prepared Childbirth, is so ridiculous I removed it from the shelf the immediately! Imagine a childbirth guide with cartoon chickens representing real women – a chicken packing a bag for her trip to the hospital – except, there are also vivid close up black and white images of real childbirth! You don’t want to leave it lying around where the cartoonish cover art may attract unsuspecting children…yikes!

Holly: The title makes it sound like lamaze is for weaklings who are afraid of childbirth, like it is somehow laughable that a woman would want to consider it. I don’t think that’s what they intended, so the title is unfortunate. Also…chickens?

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Lady Questions Answered!

questions women ask title page

Questions Women Ask
Duncan
1971

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.

 

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