RIP Anne Frank

ripped cover of diary of anne frank

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
This edition: 1993

Here’s a good example of a book that every public library should have, regardless of its copyright date.  There is no question as to its usefulness to patrons.  When you find an item like this on your shelves, though, it needs to be replaced.  It is quite literally falling apart.  The pictures here only show the front and back cover, but the pages were stained and brown and falling out too.  I’m embarrassed to admit that this example is from my very own, beloved library.   That’s right, folks, we’ve got skeletons in our closet too.  We weed regularly, and we lay hands on our items through physical inventory regularly, too.

I chose this book for today’s post because it slipped through the weeding and inventory cracks because it has been constantly checked out.  It came back in and went right back out, so the only time it came into contact with staff at all would be at the check-out and check-in desks.

So here’s the thought for today: have we empowered our non-professional, part-time staff at the check-out desk to weed items in this kind of condition?  Are they aware that they should at least bring items like this to a collection manager’s attention? I got my hands on this little gem because a 10-hour-per-week Circulation Clerk brought it to me and said, “Don’t we have more copies of this? Can we retire this one?”  Thank God, because it actually had a hold on it that we moved to another copy.  It would have gone out yet again.

When a patron puts a hold on a classic like The Diary of Anne Frank, and they end up being given THIS, what do they think of the library?


damaged book back cover


  1. Our circulation staff regularly fills up a book truck of books that are falling apart to send to us for either mending or replacement. We get more from them than we do from our librarians.

  2. I hate reading books in this condition and regularly replace them, but was embarrassed to find a similar looking copy of Old Yeller on my shelves the other day. It’s on the current book order. Love this site! Found it this morning from 100 Scope Notes blog.

  3. I currently work part time in a small parochial school library, where my partner and I (we’re both part time) are conducting the end-of-year inventory. Our sole surviving copy of this book is in very similar condition. However, with no budget for books this year and next, I will most likely have to patch it up the best I can. Very sad. I may actually check our local used bookstore and see if I can’t find one in better shape. And Cindy Dobrez posted about this site this morning. So much fun! And in this case, eesh! so true!

  4. Sad to say, but I too have seen many books on our selves that have taken the same wear as the Anne Frank book. Of course paperbacks get the most wear and tear. Sometimes it pays to cover the books with Kapco, just to let them have a longer shelf life.

    Kat Can- I hear you about budgets! Not just for ordering books, but also the cost of sending items to the bindery. Hopefully you will find a used copy to add to your collection. I have been known to scour the Goodwill, Salvation Army and garage sales for books that can be used to replace a well worn out copy.

    A quick note too about this site. I was given the link by a co-worker and so glad she did. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there going, we need to weed outdated materials and replace worn items with frequent circs.

  5. I agree that this must be replaced. That said, I enjoy seeing books that have been loved. So many may have been well-reviewed but sit on the shelf unopened until they are pulled due to accumulated dust. Some things resonate with people, and others, um…don’t.

  6. In our system, circ staff are empowered to pull books like this but never do. Frankly, they avoid responsibility like the plague and pretty much refuse (outright or by passive resistance) to do any task beyond checking books in and out and shelving.

  7. I checked out a copy of “Lolita” from one of our partner libraries… and each time I turned a page, it fell out. I paid for a replacement copy, but so far, no replacement has been purchased. But don’t worry, we have at least fifteen copies of “Twilight” circulating.

    1. In general, a library would not make a judgement about one book’s popularity over another (or at least they shouldn’t!) All public libraries should have a nice copy of Lolita on the shelf and they sure shouldn’t take money to purchase a replacement and then not replace! Shame on your library!

  8. I absolutely concur on the empowerment of every library staff member to feel comfortable weeding these books.

  9. Yikes, I didn’t know it was going to make that crazy laughing face… sorry about that… the joke was bad enough without that face, hah

  10. Just a curious question about acquisitions and collections:

    How common are copies of “The Diary of Anne Frank – The Revised Critical Edition” in community libraries in addition to this popular edition?

    The Revised Critical Edition includes Frank’s unedited diary entries which can be compared to the edited entries published by her father. You can also read her original textual changes and edits.

    So far I haven’t been able to track down a copy locally in Michigan (Walled Lake area).

    Here’s a Amazon link for more info:

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