Autism Ambassadors cover

Autism Ambassadors

The Autism Ambassadors Handbook
Kukoff
2013

Submitter: This terribly ableist book is in the library of the university I graduated from. When I discovered it as an autistic student, I was livid. The author, an 18-year-old boy who is being treated as an expert despite his lack of qualifications, describes autistic people in the most alienating way possible (he actually says we sound as if we just stepped off a spaceship). He doesn’t consider that if a child screams or covers her ears, maybe she is hurt or scared by a loud noise. To him, this behavior is just evidence that she is socially oblivious. The author clearly hasn’t talked to many autistic adults. If he had, he’d know that we do NOT want to be “indistinguishable from our peers”, that stimming has an important purpose, and that autistic people want real friends, not assigned “friends” for whom we are a special school project.

A Boy Today, a Man Tomorrow

Boy Today, Man Tomorrow

A Boy Today, a Man Tomorrow
Hayes
1959

Submitter: I found this 1959 puberty manual when cleaning out an old closet at a public library in North Carolina I worked at a couple summers ago. It had long been weeded–I brought it home to read aloud to my 12-year-old, who was sufficiently horrified!

Holly: What were they saving it in the closet for?? It warms my heart to know it got a second life through your tween.

vd facts you should know

Just the VD facts

VD: Facts You Should Know
Blanzaco
1970

It was kind of disappointing to do a statewide as well as a local search in catalogs and find that there are quite a few public libraries around that still had some of this old material about venereal disease. Of course everyone knows that medical information is probably suspect after a good 5 years or so.  I think that when we are talking about STDs or STIs and other health issues, it’s important we keep this information up to date.

Another disappointing aspect of some of these older materials, especially when we’re talking about sexual health topics, is the not so subtle judgment on moral behavior that really serves no purpose. Today’s young people need up-to-date information, especially on health sexual health topics. Weed these when we get back to work. We will need shelf space for the COVID-19 books.

Mary

teen childbirth cover

Teen Childbirth Help

Teen Guide To Childbirth
Brown
1989

This is pretty much a basic childbirth manual. It assumes that this teen has all sorts of resources, dutifully gets prenatal care, and has support from family and the baby’s father. There isn’t any judgment about being married or shame cast on the teen mother. Unfortunately, that is about the only thing that is good. The reality is that there is probably 1% of all teen mothers that have the resources and choices in this book.

There are some pretty big questions left unanswered: How will I support myself? Where will I find help with child care? How am I going to pay for a hospital and prenatal care? Even if you can get beyond the outdated information, the couple pictures are just wrong. The first picture has a guy pushing 30 which brings a whole new level of ick to this book.

abusive relationships cover

Abusive Relationships

Everything You Need to Know About
Abusive Relationships
Rue
1996

I want teens to have the best resources when it comes to serious topics like abusive relationships. I also think that these books need to be styled in such away, that it won’t discourage young people from using the material. I don’t think this book does the job effectively.

The cover art and illustrations leave a bit to be desired. The pictures are disturbing in that I think too many people would wouldn’t call a relationship abusive unless it is physically violent. Even though the book does address situations of female on male abuse and emotional abuse, it is still lacking on what constitutes an abusive relationship.

Regardless, this book is a weeder just because the content is over 20 years old. It isn’t necessarily wrong, but any material this old, especially in a teen section, is questionable.

nursing home handbook

Grandma needs a home

The Nursing Home Handbook
A guide for Families
Horne
1989

This was still in a collection as of this writing.  Obviously a handbook on nursing homes from the late 1980s is out of date. Since a good portion of this book discusses costs, it is a weeder on that topic alone. Even what look to be generically good checklists ignore the technological changes that have happened since the late 1980s. WiFi anyone? Plenty of folks in their 80s and 90s are equipped with tablets and smart phones and staying connected will be a serious consideration.

cancer can it be stopped?

Cancer: Can it be stopped?

Cancer: Can it be Stopped?
Silverstein and Silverstein
1987 (original copyright 1972)

This book seemed to be aimed at a young adult audience, although I found it in the adult nonfiction section of a small public library. The information is no doubt out of date, particularly with respect to  treatments. The tone of these books is bleak and not too optimistic with respect to survival. No one wants a patron facing a desperate medical diagnosis to rely on books this old.

It would be great if everyone would have a lot of time to drop everything and weed whenever. I know that isn’t always the case, however staff can and should prioritize certain collections over others.The changes in some content has very real world consequences for our patrons.

expectant fathers

Time to be a Daddy

Expectant Fathers
Bittman and Zalk
1978

Even in the late 1970s, dads were not always allowed to be a part of the birth process. Consider this a sensitive man’s guide to sharing the pregnancy experience. Lots of feels for everyone. There is very little specific childcare or pregnancy advice. This is more about including the dads. Good choice for the late 1970s, but out of place in today’s culture.

Mary