Margaret Thatcher cover

World Leaders Past and Present

Margaret Thatcher
World Leaders, Past and Present
Garfinkle
1985

Submitter: Or, as a friend put it, “Dictators and a Couple of OK People”. This is a YA nonfic series that we only weeded a couple of years ago from the Norwood Public Library where I’m the Library Assistant. They have been sitting in our book sale room ever since; strangely, nobody has bought any of them.

These books were published in the 80s, when I was in high school. Even as a voracious reader of anything I could get my hands on, these would have bored me to tears, with their dense text and black-and-white photos. The librarian who ordered them back then was probably talked into the set by a slick salesman, since she was completely out of touch with teenagers.

Holly: More like “World Leaders, Past and Past-er.” What’s up with the font styles on the spines? That’s dumb.

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the worst, that WTC page might have proved deeply traumatic for a patron, and at best, it made our branch look lax and out-of-date.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 Much like our Alaska book previously featured, this book is woefully out of date.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.

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!

Festivals Feasts Fairs and Festivals

Fiesta!

Mort’s Guide to Festivals, Feasts, Fairs, & Fiestas
Barish and Mole
1974

Submitter: Another very dated book we weeded. Dated and wrong. Is ANY festival from 1974 still being held in 2020? I looked up my own state, and while the basic information is mostly correct for the time, there are some glaring errors. Mainly, misspelling the Merrie Monarch Festival as “Merry.” This is sacrilege here. However, “mouthwatering Polynesian and Oriental foods” are still part of the state fair, and any fair, really! And the teeny, tiny type!

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.