College Memories

western civilization

The Western Experience to 1715
Chambers, Grew, Herlihy, Rabb, Woloch

Another Swedish Death Cleaning Find…

This time we have a college history textbook. The only reason I know it was a textbook from college was the used book price from IUB also known as the Illini Union Bookstore. (Both my husband and I graduated from Illinois way back in 1982.) My husband recognized this book as his text from his Intro to Classical Civilization class. Professor Richard Scanlan’s class was arguably the most popular class at the university during our tenure. My husband, an engineering student and a guy who would take math classes for fun, absolutely loved this class. I am quite sure that is why this book is still sitting on our shelf. Scanlan died in 2009.

The book itself is nothing particularly special. The content probably can be found in many more current published books. Although we get to make our own rules with a personal library, this sentimental feeling about particular titles or even editions, can also plague librarians trying to weed a collection. It is easy to get caught up in what the book means to us personally. No one is immune to this.

To those librarians that struggle with weeding personal favorites for whatever reason. Weed them and throw some money in the used book sale and take them home. I will keep the Swedish death cleaning police and Marie Kondo off your back.

Carpe Diem Everyone,




  1. They’ve also updated it several times since then–my 2000 European History class included a much newer edition of the post-1715 volume!

  2. I recognize this book. I think I owned it at some point.

    What a lovely memory of your old professor, and the People article is great. I’d have taken that class too.

  3. I think every personal collection has some treasured thing like this that wouldn’t fly in a modern public library. My Beloved relic is C.W. Ceram’s ‘Gods, Graves and Scholars’ from the 1950s. It was what sold me on archaeology and, after I became a librarian in the field, I met many more of my ilk.

    1. I have that one as well, and am not giving it up in all its outdated crunchy yellowness.

    1. The book isn’t awful. In fact it is special to us for the reasons I stated in the post.In a personal library that is perfectly legit reason. In a public library or academic library, that isn’t necessarily the case. It is a wonderful book, from what I remember. However there are newer editions of that same title that would be more appropriate for an academic library. Public libraries won’t even bother with this kind of book as it is a textbook and that usually is way outside our unit cost for a book. Each library gets to decide what works best for their community.
      Hope this helps.

Comments are closed.