Awful Library Books

Hoarding is not collection development

Follow us on:

Categories

Making a Collection Count
PLA Weeding Manual

Use Your Noodle

Decorating with macaroniDecorating with Macaroni: A Craft “How-To” Create Book
Aleene
1966

Submitter: At first I thought the “macaroni” referred to something else, like a type of needlework. I am the least craftiest person on the planet. However, I looked further and realized these are actual items of household décor using various types of macaroni pasta.  I wouldn’t say this is “awful”, just a reflection of the times I guess – I remember making macaroni “art” in school in the ‘70s, one of which I made in kindergarten and still hang on my Christmas tree every year! I work in the rare book room and archives of [a Canadian university].

Holly: It is definitely a reflection of the times! In case you’re interested, there are lots of current Aleene craft projects on Pinterest. Point your patrons there, not to this old thing. I, too, made macaroni “art” in the early 80s, and I remember a gold spray-painted box like the one painted below. So fancy.

Continue reading

At Your Leisure

Opportunities in recreation and leisure careers

Opportunities in Recreation and Leisure Careers
Jensen
1990

Submitter: 3 circs in about 9 years, and I can only retroactively apologize to those folks who checked this out assuming it would assist them. I’m also slightly annoyed that “carnival game operator” and “college teacher” are listed together as opportunities. Because those jobs are so very similar…

Holly: How is “college teacher” a recreation or leisure career? Also, what is an “industrial recreation specialist”?

Continue reading

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 I would be embarrassed if my Nigerian neighbours saw one of my kids getting lame, out of date information from this book.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.

Continue reading