All that was left was a carcass…

Guinness World RecordsGuinness World Records
50th Anniversary Edition

Submitter: I can’t give any other pictures of this book, because the front and back covers were ALL I found on the shelf. Seriously. They were shelved correctly, I guess, but there’s not much use in putting the covers on the shelf for checkout. I think this book wins the worst condition ever award.

Holly: Soooo…. either a patron stole its insides and left the carcass on the shelf, or SOMEONE ON STAFF SHELVED IT THIS WAY. I sincerely hope it was stolen and left for dead. These things sure take a beating, don’t they? This is why physical inventory is so important. You can’t just run a report and see that a Guinness World Records book circulates well. Well DUH, of course it does! But they’re simply falling apart over there. Go take a look, and weed the sad ones.

Broken spine

Guinness World Records torn spine


  1. You have proof of the elusive library arachnids! They just slurp out the insides and leave the husk! You should contact Wild Kingdom or possibly pest control.

  2. I’ve seen this sort of thing in the high-theft areas, like wiccan spellbooks and the human sexuality section. I suspect that it’s because my library has a decorative wooden arch at the entrance that reminds people of airport metal detectors. We don’t actually have any anti-theft alarms in place, but I think people THINK we do, and that the system is scanning for something on the cover.

    It seems like a lot of effort just to steal something that we were going to let you borrow for free. Cover and all.

  3. These books have the worst binding ever. And they are expensive, almost $29. I buy digital copies only because the physical ones only last 3 months max in my elementary school library.

    1. Believe me, they circulate like crazy! I can’t buy 3 or 4 copies of this year’s edition–that would set me back a couple of hundred bucks for “candy.” $30 once a year hurts less. You have to keep all the old ones and repair them. Then they are like cats with nine lives! 4-inch book tape on the spine (spine label and barcode label carefully contained underneath, then whatever binding adhesive plus strong book tape on the inside. Obviously, this “cat” made it past nine!

    2. In library school, my reference class had a project that involved doing research into the reference collection, and a few questions involved back issues of these books. They don’t all have the same categories, some the most recent champion of, say, ear-wiggling, might actually be in the 2007 book, because the even wasn’t repeated after that.

    3. There was 2005 version in the collection because before me no one ever weeded. Ever. I removed books from the 40s and 50s, and this is a middle school library. I keep the most recent three years of World Records books, since they circ so well, but the 2005 edition would have been weeded even if it still had its guts. 🙂

  4. I once worked in a high school library that had security devices in the books. The kids never could seem to catch on to that. They’d remove the covers and try to walk nonchalantly out the door. We laughed at their expressions when they were caught.

  5. It’s not about current statistics for the kids in our libraries, it’s about the pictures and the gross out categories. And for that any year will do.

  6. We have a similar problem with dvds and video games at our library! The covers stay on the shelves, while the discs are leaving the building…

    There are radio alarm thingys on the disks, but one of our portals have a dead zone about one meter above floor level – aproximately where childrens’ pockets and backpacks are…

    We moved the shelves into easy view from the desk, and it helped a bit. But we still find the oddest things missing.
    And again, why people steal what they can borrow for free??
    (And also, why do people keep breaking into the building at night? There is *nothing* of resale value here! Even the computers are obsolete)

  7. My Guinness books take a pretty good beating as well. I’ve actually started to pre-fix them with the same stuff I use to repair textbooks. It’s a sad truth but it hopefully makes them last a smidge longer.

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