Rhythmic Activities

Rhythmic Activities

Rhythmic Activities Series II
Stuart and Ludlam
1955, 1963

Submitter: This set of cards with songs and activities is not only ancient and falling apart, it’s also not even remotely useful to our users (academic library). We do have an Education program, but no self-respecting teacher or teacher-in-training wants something this old! Though it did circulate last in 1995.

Holly: I think you can weed this one on condition alone! Cute idea, just wayyyy outdated.

Games the Indians Played cover

Games the Indians Played

The Games the Indians Played
Lavine
1974

Submitter: This book uses outdated and culturally insensitive terms like “redskin.” It contains a decent amount of research from when the author was a teacher on a reservation. He interviewed many of the indigenous people there and I’m sure meant this to be a teaching tool about the culture, but it is a really old book that is now falling apart. Plus, it just gives off vibes of “oh, let’s look at the white man’s view of the savages’ primitive games.”

Holly: I’ve been learning a lot about collection diversity audits recently. While libraries may solely be looking for the percentage of materials about and by BIPOC, they need to use the opportunity to weed inappropriate materials like these. Please, please, don’t just count it as “diverse” and leave it in the collection! Look at the materials closely and audit the content while you’re at it.

Clowns Fun Makers cover

Clowns, the Fun Makers

Clowns: The Fun Makers
Boring
1980

Submitter: This book has not circulated since 1999, and I can see why. The photos are pretty boring. Plus being a history book on the topic of clowns that is now over 40 years old – it’s time to replace and update.

Holly: Or, as Mary says, “Clowns: The Nightmare Makers.” I guess if your last name is Boring and you’re a writer, you find something fun to write about. It’s basically just a history of clowns and circus entertainers (ending at 1980, obviously). Not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but definitely old and…well, boring.

Nicotine and Caffeine cover

Nicotine and Caffeine

Focus on Nicotine and Caffeine
Perry
1990

Submitter: It’s a little jarring to see nicotine and caffeine lumped together. Maybe nicotine has decreased in “everyday drug” status since 1990 or maybe I just don’t take caffeine seriously enough, but it seems like an odd pairing. And the “current” stats (from 1989) on smoking are obviously a little of out date by now—down from 29% to about 14% in 2019, per the CDC. The sentence “Like little smokestacks, smokers send out poisonous gasses into the world around them and deep into the world inside them” is pretty great though.

Holly: I think you’re right – smoking is just not as commonplace as it was when this book was published. Caffeine use, however, is still very prevalent. And I agree – we don’t generally lump those two drugs together. Maybe also because there’s no age-related law on purchasing caffeinated foods and beverages. Kids can buy a chocolate candy bar and a Coke; they can’t buy cigarettes.

Hello Mr Chips cover

Why Did the Computer Cross the Road?

Hello, Mr. Chips! Computer Jokes and Riddles
By Ann Bishop
Published 1982

Submitter: Turns out computer joke books age about as well as any other kind of computer book. The content starts before the title page, with a picture of a computer carved from a literal apple, though I’d be hard pressed to identify it as a carving of a computer if it wasn’t captioned. There’s a nice Red Scare Era joke on page one, and later on a joke about computers driving cars that reads a little differently now that computers are driving cars. Also a joke about humans turning computers on—is that supposed to be literal, or did we put innuendo jokes in books for children 40 years ago? Shockingly, this book circulated as recently as 2016, which is also about when I became responsible for this collection. Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed it took that long for this book to come to my attention.

Ouch! cover

Ouch!

Ouch! A Book About Cuts, Scratches, and Scrapes
Berger
1991

Submitter: The information in this book is fine, but it’s pretty visually dated and hasn’t been checked out in about 10 years. Mostly I’m chuckling over the extremely dramatic, unrealistic drawings of blood spurting from assorted wounds. Be sure to check out the images of the interior pages for that.

Holly: Not to mention the advanced vocabulary, like “fibrin” and “platelets.”

United Nations Conspiracy title page

UN Conspiracy

The United Nations Conspiracy
Lee
1981

Submitter: I guess this book was purchased in the interest of “balance” for our academic library. In 1981, apparently, it was okay to pretend that whackadoodle conspiracy theories represented an alternative point of view. I’m glad the predictions of enslavement to a One World Government have yet to come true, and that the godless commies have not prevailed, despite the “brickbats coming thick and heavy” to John Wayne, of all people. John Wayne, “far removed from Hollywood’s typical subversion and perversion as you can get!” The nerve!

The Black Death cover

The Black Death

The Black Death
Day
1989

Submitter: Other than the cover (is that E.T. wielding the scythe of death? Why is he not wearing any clothes? Why is the dead man on the ground smiling?), this book is actually not that bad, just really old. Old enough to be concerned that “AIDS may soon become as damaging as the plague once was.” The pages are yellowed, the illustration style is pretty dated, and there are plenty of good newer books on the topic available. At 32 years old, this book has had a full life.

Holly: All the people in all the pictures in this book look like Zombies.