Swimming and Diving

Swimming and Diving
The American Red Cross

Submitter: I can’t believe this book survived two circ system upgrades, including re-barcoding, and an inventory! The copyright date is 1938. Seriously. Our book is a 37th printing, and according to the preface, the original had been in use for 18 years. But 1938 is the only date listed anywhere. I like the photos and the hand-written a, b, c, d on them.

Holly: Mary and I have both had this happen to us!  We find things on the shelves that seem to pop out of nowhere.  We do regular inventory, we weed, we even RFID-tagged a whole collection, but then something like this shows up on the shelves.  Old book gnomes?


  1. Holes in the time-space continuum is what I blame it on. Removed about 3,000 books before packing up everything for a renovation, and there were still things that popped out as awful when we put everything back. There is no other explanation!

  2. Sure, the book is old. But is there anything actually out-of-date about it? That breaststroke as illustrated looks pretty similar to the way I learned it.

  3. The comment about old books cracked me up. When my mom worked at the public library she’d sometimes bring me home some of the weeders that weren’t destined for the book sale. One time she brought home some non-descript books in generic “my cover was maimed and destroyed” library binding.
    One of them is a copy of Ivanhoe from the late 1800’s/early 1900’s with the awesome illustrations where you have a page of tissue paper before the illustration. There’s a few others as well that I’m afraid I’m too uncultured to have heard of as well. They’re in perfect condition except for the fact that the cover is “library binding red”.
    I hung on to them….I’m sure someone would appreciate them but I’m not sure who.

  4. Depending on if you’re a Trekkie or a Whovian the obvious answers are either 1: Gary Seven 2: Q or 3: The Doctor are all playing practical jokes on librarians everywhere.

  5. The strokes don’t change that much, but aren’t there other items that might only show up in an updated guide? I’m not sure.

  6. Mel M: Yeah, I wonder that too. Putting on my patron hat, if I were looking for a book on swimming, I would wonder if there was safety information missing from such an old book. Now, if I saw it at the book sale I would snap it right up–I have several Red Cross books of similar vintage, and they’re very interesting–but it would not be my first choice to actually learn about the topic.

    Which is to say that even if it’s *not* outdated, the fact that patrons aren’t going to know if they can trust the information is still a problem.

  7. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Red Cross first aid books were wonderful. By the 1980s, they’d culled a lot of the good information out of them. I will always keep my ancient first aid book, preferring it to the more modern versions I’ve seen.

  8. The American Red Cross swimming and lifeguard certification is still the one to have in the field, but I’m sure there are new editions of this book that include new things, like maybe pool safety and CPR?

  9. The pictures seem clearly post-1938, as well as the swimming gear. There is a date missing, that is certainly a later edition.