Awful Library Books

Hoarding is not collection development

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Making a Collection Count

Just replace that pet dog you love

The Old Dog

Submitter: If it were up to me, I would put a match to every specimen of this genre.  But I’m only a volunteer, so all I can do is shudder quietly.

Genre: Picture books about the death of an aging pet.
Distinguishing feature: On the last page, the child gets a new pet of the same species, and all is happiness.
Lessons: Animals are fungible and your feelings aren’t real.

Sure, there is a place for these books. It’s in the History of Child Psychology section of academic libraries–not in the picture-book section of a public library. There exist death-of-a-pet books that don’t have the tacked-on happy ending.

WorldCat–which doesn’t seem to know about our local library system, though it knows about several adjacent, still smaller counties–says there are hundreds of copies out there. Hoarders of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shelf space. Disappointingly, the book was donated by a local hospice organization. They generally have better sense; did they not read the book all the way through?

Holly: I don’t like these casual happy endings either. It’s a great idea to have books for kids about the death of a pet, but maybe they could show how it’s ok to grieve, families sharing stories about their beloved pet, or even making a memorial of some sort. It’s also ok to get a new pet – eventually – and to be happy about that, but maybe show the family still remembering their lost pet so it doesn’t just look like a quick replacement.

More Critters:

Beyond Awful…the “Great” Beyond

Making Pigeons Pay

Animal Cruelty at the Science Fair

Just say “no” to monkeys with blue eye shadow

Drowning Bugs

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Do the Hustle

Disco Hustle

Submitter: I found this in the 790s…and it was not the only disco book I found. The guy on the cover looks a bit like Freddy Mercury, don’t you think? The song is still running through my head!

Holly: Oh good, we haven’t had a disco book in a while! I thought maybe the librarian masses had weeded them all. A girl can dream.


More Disco Fever:

Disco Never Dies

Will Disco Ever Die?

Kiddie Disco

More Disco

Gettin’ Jiggy


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Friday Fiction – California!


Submitter: Just found this in the stacks today. I wish that I could have gotten a better picture of the uniform goldenrod color. Besides the very yellowed pages and cover, the book is being held together with a prayer and a wish. On a scale of gross to disgusting, it’s disgusting.

Holly: Oh good, a popular old fiction title for our readers to discuss! I can’t speak for any other public library, but my library no longer owns this title – or any other title in the Wagons West series – and we haven’t missed it. There are 15 copies available in our inter-library loan system. I wonder what kind of shape some of those are in! Submitter’s specimen is particularly…ripe.


More Questionable Condition:

Fix It or Forget It

Chew on This!

The Joy of Home Winemaking

RIP Anne Frank