Traveling alone cover

Travel Advice for the Ladies

Traveling Alone
A Practical Guide for Business Women
North
1979

If you want an example of outdated advice this is the book.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:

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 This book probably was outdated by the late 1980s.

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the worst, that WTC page might have proved deeply traumatic for a patron, and at best, it made our branch look lax and out-of-date.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.

Hawaii cover page

Hawaii is really American!

Hawaii USA
Edelman
1954 revised 3rd printing 1959

This was still in circulation as of this writing. Much like our Alaska book previously featured, this book is woefully out of date. Hawaii became a state in 1959, so this particular edition was updated enough to acknowledge statehood. For the life of me, I cannot understand why this book is still in a public library. I am willing to go out on a limb and say that the Hawaii of 1959 is not the same as Hawaii of 2021. Seriously, why would anyone want a 60 plus year old book on Hawaii?

alaska pioneer state

#49 Alaska

Alaska
Pioneer State
Spring
1966

This little gem was still in circulation from a small public library as of this writing. I’m sure the kids today will find this book very useful when studying our 49th state. is The goal of this book is to give the reader a view of the “real” Alaska. There are narratives about jobs, crafts, culture and then an entire chapter on the Alaska earthquake of 1964.

The phrase in the second picture below describing the woman pictured as having “pretty, pert Eskimo features”. Not that I am an expert in the use of the word “pert”, but isn’t more a personality trait? I also want to know what particular “feature” is Eskimo. Of course this one is a weeder just based on its age.

soviet union cover

Back in the USSR

Soviet Union
Jackson
1980

The Cold War was turned up to 11 when this book was published, and this text reflects that tension. It is more of a middle school textbook than a country book like those common in public library youth nonfiction collections. (See our Spanning the Globe category for some examples.) I’m going to guess that this was probably a rogue donation, because textbooks aren’t a usual item in a public library collection. You will be happy to know that this was still in circulation as of this writing.

The Orient cover

The Orient

The Orient
Hillyer and Huey
1966

Submitter: While cleaning up the children’s section, we have been finding some out of date histories and wording with several books. Such as this one…Time to ship this one off to the recycling bin.

Holly: Waaaaiiiit a minute. I’ve seen this cover before. Yup – here it is.

I mean…the map below is for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. That alone makes it weed-worthy.

Cherokee Words

Word Nerds

Cherokee Language With Pictures
Chiltoskey
1972

Submitter: I was in the last part of the 400s, where people go to learn to speak another language and found these three books. The good news – they were no longer in the catalogue. Meaning at some point they either were not transferred over when we switched from Dynix to Sirsi, were transferred but then marked missing and stayed that way in the system until auto-discarded, or were discarded and someone forgot to black out the labels. The bad news is they were still on our shelves as of January 21st, 2021!

soviety union until 1984

Soviets in the 1980s

Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?
Amalrik
1981; revised and expanded edition

Having a date as part of the title automatically limits its shelf life. Even if the title just said “Will the Soviet Union Survive?” probably could have bought more time on a shelf. Having said that, these books do have a place in a university or archival collection. Public libraries, on the other hand, would probably be better retiring this and replacing with historical retrospectives.