My Date with Satan cover

Friday Fiction: My Date with Satan

My Date with Satan: Stories
Richter
1999

Submitter: We are conducting a pretty thorough weeding of our adult fiction at our public library to make room for a new graphic novel section, and I found this short story collection as I made my way through the Rs. I have no idea how this “jewel” of a book survived in our collection until now.

Holly: Here’s a perfect example of “your mileage may vary.” Assuming submitter knows their community and their readers and their collection philosophy, this might certainly be an “awful library book” at their library! If nothing else, it’s funny, and sometimes we’re just after a laugh around here.

(Click through for full post…)

Kids' New York

The Big Apple

Kids’ New York
Dorling Kindersley Travel Guides
2000

Submitter: I found this 2000 travel guide while weeding the children’s collection in my public library the other day and…a lot has changed in NYC over the past 21 years! For example, the public pay-phones mentioned in this guide are now $1 for a three-minute call and there are only four of them left in NYC. Subway tokens were decommissioned in 2003. Time and the pandemic have shuttered numerous restaurants listed under the guide’s handy Places to Eat section. And yes, the biggest glaring issue with this book now is its double-page feature on the scenic World Trade Center. This is why we frequently review travel guide collections! I have been working at this branch for 3 months now and the sad thing is, the record for this book shows that it did in fact circulate this past year. At the worst, that WTC page might have proved deeply traumatic for a patron, and at best, it made our branch look lax and out-of-date. I’m really embarrassed this book remained in our collection for 21 years without anyone flagging it!

Holly: Good catch! These Dorling Kindersley travel books are awesome…when they’re from this decade.

Multimillionaire cover

Millionaire Real Estate Stripper Gospel

The Art of Becoming a Multimillionaire Real Estate Investor
Cherwenka
2018

Submitter: This book came from my public library. (In fact, it was purchased as a memorial book.) I came across this gem in my business section. I think the back cover speaks for itself: body builder to stripper to real estate agent who then marries his “African American Wife.” There’s a lot going on here. I’m also confused as to whether this is a book about real estate investing, a biography, or a gospel. Take your pick! In fact here’s more.

Holly: Is Magic Mike doing a bicep pose, or punching her in the breast? The link submitter shared is a 15-page short version of his story, in which he refers to himself (presumably in his stripper days) as a “lost sinner” – but he doesn’t seem too ashamed, given his choice of photo for the back cover of the book! I mean, real estate looks like a great career choice I guess…

Midwest Veterinary Conference tape

Conference on Cassette

Midwest Veterinary Conference: How to Legally Hire, Fire, and Avoid Sexual Harassment Liability, Part I
Ohio Veterinary Medical Association. Meeting (115th : 1999 : Columbus, Ohio)
1999

Submitter: We are weeding our collection at Ohio State University’s Veterinary Library and I came across a set of audio cassette tapes from the Midwest Veterinary Conference. Most of the topics aren’t as outdated as you’d expect for cassette tapes, but with this one I’m really hoping the goal has shifted from “avoiding liability” for sexual harassment, to actually avoiding sexual harassment! These are in a blank white case, so it seems we don’t have the original cover for the set, but here’s a photo of the tape.

Holly: I don’t remember how popular cassette tapes were (or weren’t) by 1999, but it’s an interesting format for conference session recordings. Within about five years it could have been digitized or moved along, though, probably. Is each tape a different session?

J.T. cover

Friday Fiction: J.T.

J.T.
Wagner
1969

Submitter: This library book is still out there, living in a public library in NY. As soon as I read the first  sentence inside the front cover, I knew I should submit it here. Published in 1969, it is a sad story about a sweet boy who is trying his best. The language however is so out of date it’s almost alarming! Pictures by Gordon Parks Jr. wouldn’t even have me keeping this, if it were in my library.

Holly: Apparently there’s a movie of this book, and you can watch it here. The shadowy pictures and the pure outdatedness (do kids know what a transistor radio is?) make this an easy weeder for most public and school libraries.

Daniel Boone cover

Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone
Daugherty
1939

Submitter: In Daniel Boone, Native Americans are variously described as savages, demons, “rats in the night,” “infesting the woods,” cat-eyed, and “as doomed as the buffalo.” White skin or white racial identity is frequently painted as superior to other races, for example: “The great landlords were demanding costly land titles and bringing in slave labor so that it was a disgrace for a white man to work with his hands” (page 25).

Creative Fingerplays cover

Fingerplays for the Emotionally Disturbed

Creative Fingerplays and Action Rhymes: An Index and Guide to Their use
Defty
1992

Submitter: I am a newly-hired youth services librarian for a public library branch that had been without a children’s librarian for nearly 3 years. While evaluating my library’s professional development collection, I came across [this book]. Most of the information in this book is fairly standard for the subject: chapters cover developmental milestones for various ages, suggested fingerplays and rhymes, and some sample craft ideas. All of these fingerplays themselves are now nicely organized and demonstrated on sites such as Jbrary. And since 1992, a number of excellent trainings like Supercharged Storytimes have been developed and made available for youth services librarians. This 30-year-old book, therefore, was unlikely to get much use at my branch. Regardless, I felt the need to browse the book and discovered the sample page I’m including here on serving “mentally retarded and emotionally disturbed children.” Um, we don’t use those terms anymore, and I’m kind of surprised they were still being used in 1992! Even my colleague at my branch who hates the idea of weeding anything agreed this title had to go.

Holly: Sometimes it’s easy to miss books like these, that still have some value. I’m sure the actual fingerplays are mostly fine. It’s these hidden sections, like the one you submitted, that can be overlooked. You can always photocopy the pieces you can still use and recycle the rest.

Bram Stoker cover

Bram Stoker is Possessed

The Man Who Wrote Dracula: A biography of Bram Stoker
Farson
1975

Submitter: This may not be so much an awful library book as it is an awful book cover. We can see from an inside photo that Stoker was a decent looking guy, so why the demonic possession eye treatment? I’m guessing the publishers wanted to ride The Exorcist wave as this book was published in 1975 after the 1973 film release. Better yet, the author was the great nephew of Stoker, so you think he’d want to honor his relative rather than make him look like an evil character. We have plenty of other (better) Stoker biographies so this one had to go.

Holly: What a strange choice of cover art! I swear I’ve seen this cover before, actually, but it’s not part of my library’s collection and I don’t see it in a previous ALB post. That’s a face you don’t forget, though!