We hope all of you had a lovely holiday break from the library grindstone. Holly and I are busy shoveling snow and complaining about sub zero temps here in Michigan. Our pickings are kind of thin this year, but we had a few standouts. Stay tuned for part 2.
Author: Mary Kelly
Ho Hum Decorations for Christmas
Christmas Decorations for you to make
For a book from 1965, surprisingly this edition was in remarkably good condition. That should be a red flag right away. Why isn’t in rougher condition? Did this book not get used enough? Was it a crappy choice in 1965?
The book does look old and the crafts aren’t that interesting. 5 minutes on Pinterest would yield better craft projects. Time to let this one go.
Time to Weed
The Time-Life Books have always been popular back in the 1970s. I remember them being advertised on TV. They were like a subscription series or book of the month club. We have a featured a few here, here, and here.
I know these Time-Life series books might still be popular with some folks depending on the topic. However, I am going to say that some of the science topics probably need to go in favor of more up to date information. Given that some of these sets had multiple volumes, space consideration could also be a factor. The western series I still see on the shelves in many libraries, so I think that series still has some fans.
For the most part, these books are weedable but they do represent a time before the Internet was the source of information. You have my permission to be sentimental when you weed these books.
Travel Advice for the Ladies
A Practical Guide for Business Women
If you want an example of outdated advice this is the book. It is full of technology references and advice that would probably be unknown to anyone under the age of 40. Although safety in travel is an excellent topic, this one doesn’t even come close to today’s reality. This was before any rolling suitcases were popular, tighter airport security, not to mention the amount of technology changes since 1979. Some highlights of the advice:
Things to pack:
- First aid kit
- Manicure set
- craft projects
- 8 track tapes or cassette tape player
- golf clubs
- disco dress
Other advice includes strategies for avoiding sexual harassment, using a travel agent, getting hotel reservations, etc. I think this book was probably edgy and helpful in 1979 (edgy, because women could go out alone and travel by themselves!). This book probably was outdated by the late 1980s.
Diversity Collection Development
Thanksgiving represents the start of the holiday season. I particularly like working post Thanksgiving due to the large number of college students that show up telling me that their family is driving them crazy. There is also a high probability of pumpkin pie in the break room. Thanksgiving also makes me think of holiday books, especially ones for the kids.
As we head into the holiday season, it is a good time to dig deep into your holiday book collection. Instead of looking to see that holidays are represented, take a minute to really evaluate the collection, especially the older titles. Our library has been making a a concerted effort to make sure we are inclusive and respectful of both religions and cultures. Particularly helpful for collection development of non-Christian religious holidays and celebrations is Diverse Bookfinder.
Be mindful of how non-Christians or indigenous people are represented in books. Thanksgiving holiday books can be quite problematic in native representation – not to mention factually inaccurate. If you want some examples, check out the category “Holiday collection” on our site for examples.
Although I don’t do kiddie collection development (adults are SOOOO much easier!) anymore, I thought I would share a few resources for both youth and adults. (Holly cobbled this together based on some workshops and recommendations.) Of course, this is only to scratch the surface and gives you a starting point. I am sure there are more resources out there and this is not to be considered a comprehensive list. If anyone has any to share, by all means say so in the comments!
I will also point out that we have some sample collection development policies if you are looking for language on DEI. I also want to point you to the ALA discussion on Diversity in Collections.
Solve Your Decorating Problems
How to solve your decorating problems
Barbara Taylor Bradford has shown up on our site for her nonfiction decorating books. (I am so glad she turned to fiction.) For the time, these were pretty decent books, although I just about die a thousand deaths with this example.
Depending on the library’s mission, I don’t think one has to keep everything simply because the author is “significant”. No doubt that Bradford is significant. Hanging on to older titles because the author is “important” is not enough of a reason to keep something clearly outdated. Larger or specialty libraries can do this, but for the average public library, this is probably outside the scope of the library mission. Always remember your core audience and mission.
Decorating with Crochet
There are some lovely decorating tips in this book for all of you looking for a “retro” look for your home. Particularly fetching is the wall hanging of a grandfather clock and the homage to macrame wall hanging on the last picture below.
As a mediocre to poor knitter/crocheter, I can appreciate the skill set, but I just cringe at these projects. It is a waste of yarn. I am also old enough to remember 1970s decor, so I can also tell you that this would have been awful in the 1970s. (At least in my opinion.)
Craft yourself an Afghan just like Grandma
Traditional and Modern
I was prepared for a very 1970s vibe for this relic of a craft book. I wasn’t disappointed with a few crafts that looked like it came from a grandma’s couch. However, I was surprised that a few were actually quite good. There were some very plain but nicely detailed afghans that would have made nice throws for a couch in this century. The bad news is that the projects were crowded out with the examples below. (Warning! A clown afghan is one of the examples!)