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.

Come to see the clowns cover

Come to See the Clowns

Come to See the Clowns
Tensen
1963

Submitter: I am submitting this sad clown book – more for its condition than anything else. – Come To See The Clowns – Leave with nightmares….

Holly: Kinda cute, actually, as clown books go, but yeah – it’s seen better days!

Mary: I need to reiterate that clowns are evil. That said, this might be the least obnoxious of our clown book inventory.

Feminist cover

Can I Be a Feminist and Still Like Men?

Ma, can I be a feminist and still like men?: Lyrics From Life
Hollander
1980

Submitter: I work in a small academic library and I can’t figure out how this supports coursework at all. We regularly review the collection and have undergone a couple of major weeds in the last few years and yet this one is still around?

From another staff member: I think it’s safe to say it didn’t age well. While it’s trying to point out ironies of gender roles, it really does revert to sweeping ideas that “All men are one way” and “All women are trying to conform.” Plus, the idea that exposure to Sandra Dee and taking up motherhood is synonymous with throwing your life away.

In short, this book does not fit the mission of our library or the current century, so it must go!

Holly: It also looks a little old and stickered up…and don’t even get me started on barcodes that cover titles!

Hello Mr. Chips cover

A-Diskette A-Daskette

Hello, Mr. Chips!
Bishop
1982

Submitter: I think this was probably a fantastic middle school book in 1982. What makes it awful now is that my students have never even heard of the terms that make up the punchlines. Also, the illustrations of computers with massive CPUs and pin-feed printers are unrecognizable to our students. My favorite joke requires knowledge of both old pop culture and obsolete technology: “What’s a computer’s favorite Ella Fitzgerald number? A-Diskette, A-Daskette.” I just read it to a group of 8th grade boys and received only blank stares.