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Spanning the Globe

This category includes all geography and travel related posts.

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Welcome to Nigeria

Welcome to Nigeria
Kerr
2002

Submitter: This book is from a junior non-fiction series clearly designed for research projects. It was probably ok when it was published — 15 years ago. But culture has moved on and many new things could be added, which is why books like this need to be eliminated in favour of more detailed and current information in databases. This book was not only in a library with great internet access (in a city with widespread access), there is a significant Nigerian population [here]. I would be embarrassed if my Nigerian neighbours saw one of my kids getting lame, out of date information from this book. There is a sort of wishful naive thinking with a lot of the writing on colonialism in particular, using an “objective” tone to present facts without the contexts of racism or mentioning economic exploitation. The artist and writer section is woefully out of date – how are you going to write a book on Nigeria without including who the Man Booker committee called “the father of modern African writing” Chinua Achebe? The section on how unskilled everyone is in Nigeria is positively cringe-worthy. There is a dominant narrative of Nigerians as simple, backwards people that does not belong in a public library in 2017.

Holly: It’s funny how the older you get, the more recent dates seem that were actually 15 years ago. That’s right, folks, 2002 was 15 loooong years ago. Country books have a shorter shelf life than you may realize. Cultural terms used to describe the people, significant national events, statistics cited – even the fashion depicted by the people pictured – all date these books pretty quickly. Submitter points out some other reasons that this particular book needs to be replaced with something more recent and with a different tone. Submitter’s town has a large Nigerian population, which means that children will want to learn about that culture. Nigerian children should have access to materials about their heritage, and other children should learn about their Nigerian friends and neighbors from sources that are accurate.

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Ukraine Then and…Then

Ukraine cover

 

Ukraine
Then and Now series
Lerner Publications Company. Geography Department
1993

Here’s the good news: there are some gorgeous photos of Ukrainian people and places in this book. It is also organized nicely for older children, with usable data laid out in an understandable way.

Here’s the bad news: it is 24 years old. Those were 24 big years in Ukrainian history, and the data is no longer accurate. Wikipedia is a better choice at this point.

Ukraine is in the news a lot, and a great choice for those country reports that students are always doing. Give a kid a chance. Update!

-Holly

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Branson travel guide

Branson travel guideBranson: The Official Travel and Souvenir Guide to America’s Music Show Capital
Simon
1995

Submitter: My family is planning a trip to Branson this fall and lo and behold my tiny public library has this gem in its collection. I should tell you that we are located nowhere near Branson Missouri. In fact we are three states away! We’ve been through quite a few Directors at the library since this was purchased so who knows what the thought process was for buying this. Was the Director thinking “I’m taking my family to Branson soon, I should order a book for the library!” That’s the only reason I can think of as to why this could possibly be ordered. […] surprisingly it seems that most of the attractions are still in business. I did enjoy the scan of local coupons. I bet those would come in handy when we go in the fall. Even when I was checking this out and told the person at the circulation desk how old it was he commented that I should try the inter-library loan system for something newer. From what I can tell this last circulated in 2013. Why?

Holly: Two things come to mind when I read this submission. First, travel books are good for about five years. You might squeeze ten years out of some of them. It was a reasonable choice for 1995, but could have been weeded by the turn of the century. Especially since it comes with coupons in the back that include expiration dates! (Actually, I happen to know that it wasn’t even a great choice for this particular library even back then. This is a teeny-tiny public library in a very rural community. They probably have one shelf of travel books, so they should concentrate those titles on the most-relevant places. Branson is popular…but probably not popular enough to that particular community to warrant taking up any of that precious shelf space.)

Second, would everyone please empower their Circulation Clerks to set materials aside for weeding consideration? If the patron didn’t actually want to check it out, the Clerk could have passed it directly to a librarian for reconsideration. If the patron did check it out, the Clerk could have jotted down the title and let the librarian know about it via email or a quick phone call to catch it upon its return. The transaction as described here sounds very passive. It was a great idea to suggest inter-library loan for something newer, but he didn’t seem to take it any further than a shrug and an offhand comment about ILL. As librarians, we desperately need the help of our Circulation co-workers! They see everything. Don’t you want some of that information passed your way?

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