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Awful Library Books

Hoarding is not collection development

Boring Baseball Strategy

Basic Baseball Strategy
Freeman
1965

This caught my eye on the floor between stacks on a busy summer day in my library. There were kids all over the place, since a summer reading program event had just finished. A boy, probably about 10 years old, asked me for books about baseball. I found all kinds of current, fun-looking books with color pictures, but this one had been cast aside. It was sitting on the floor a few feet from the rest of the baseball books.

It’s boring. It’s old. The cover has a black-and-white photograph, but there are no other photos throughout the book. There are cartoon drawings, which would be just fine in a kids’ book if there were more of them, but they’re scattered here and there inconsistently.

The language is complicated, too. I get that there is lingo in baseball, and that’s fine. It just seems like a book written for coaches or high school players, not Little League-aged kids.

It has a few rips and tears here and there, yellowed pages, and a little bit of a musty smell, but boy did they make good bindings back then. The binding is nearly perfect.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH! This needs to be weeded.

 

-Holly

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Setting Up a Library – NLW 2014

Setting Up a Library: How to Begin or Begin Again
Smith
1979

Submitter: I showed this book to my co-worker and she said, “Where did you find that?” I hated to tell her it was in 027. Worse, it circ’d in 2011. Here are the totally incomprehensible instructions. To be clear, these are the complete instructions, not the table of contents. 8 pages of this stuff. Then there is the up-to-the-minute bibliography. Even keeping in mind this is a publication of the Church and Synagogue Library Association, it’s not the most professional thing I ever saw.

Holly: So, this is an 8-page booklet on how to set up a library. As in, start-to-finish, eight (8) pages. Granted, it only promises to tell you “How to Begin,” not how to run the thing. You’ll get a few pages of how to set it up and a list of books about how to be a librarian and run the place. My only real gripe is that it dumbs down the behemoth project that is setting up a library. Step one is “Analyze information requirements of the congregation,” but we all know how detailed a project a true needs analysis is. Each piece of Step 6 (shown below) is a library science course in and of itself! A master’s level course. Most of the books listed in the bibliography are too old to be useful (or even available). If all you needed to do (in 1979) was get an idea of what is involved in setting up a church/synagogue library, this was a bare-bones starting point.

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The Trusted Trustee

The Library Trustee: A Practical Guidebook
4th Edition
Young
1988

This book bubbled up from my library’s professional collection, having been tucked away in the Director’s office for a while (and by “a while” I mean a few decades.) It was probably a pretty handy book in its day. There is highlighting throughout, so someone clearly found it useful.

26 years later, it has snippets that are useful, but I would never give it to a trustee. It doesn’t point in the direction libraries are headed today at all, so it just gives trustees the wrong impression of their job (and our job).

You will see in the images below:
-Discussions of CD-ROM reference products
-That new-fangled “computerized circulation control”
-Old funding statistics on what percentage of funding comes from local, state, and federal sources
-Communication techniques that are completely void of technology
-The idea that technology of the future might allow people to access the library catalog (*gasp!) FROM THEIR HOMES
-The idea that technology of the future  might also allow libraries to replace print materials with “microfilm or compact discs” (p.122)

Please, please give your trustees training materials that reflect your library’s true mission and goals. You want them to support your efforts, not try to get you to spend money on CD-ROMs and plan for the future of fax machines.

Holly

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