Weeding Pains (or Not)

In my first Library Science class, I was told that the first year as a school librarian, I shouldn’t do any weeding.  Instead, I should be patient, get a grip on the collection, the community, etc.  Now the last part sounds like a fine idea, but when you have titles like the following, how could I possibly not weed my first year?

And just in case you don’t stick with me to the end of this long post – I weeded too many titles to count (not all were in the new LIS, so I can’t just look at statistics).  But my efforts have paid off – with weeding and purchasing of new books, we’re up a net 500 books at the elementary, and have increased the average age of the collection three years.  (With the number I got rid of, that means we’ve added a LOT.  We have more than 1,000 new books at the elementary, considering our label usage.)  At the high school, we’re up a net 200 books, and up four years.  We still have a ways to go – the average age at the elementary is still too old (1993), but at the high school, we’re at an acceptable 15 years old average (without adding the new books yet).

But please read on!  This is going to be fun.


This was actually a little hard to weed.  I mean, look at that super cute squirrel on the front, eating his little acorn!  But c’mon.  1973.  The pages are yellowed, we have a ton of animal books to replace it.  I don’t know when it was last checked out what with changes in the LIS and no years on the stamped card, but I’m guessing a good ten years.  (I tell myself I could make some super cute art from my childhood using Modge Podge, but it’ll probably just be added to my fabulous retro book collection.)


It’s “Remember the Seventies Day” at the library, I guess.  I remember my mom reading this, but it definitely does not belong in a high school library!  (Did it in 1978?)

Here’s one that’s actually not bad, but just not good for my library.  Too text-heavy – for either the elementary OR the high school.  I’m going to give it to a fifth grader who is a Revolutionary War buff.



From 1972, Afro-Am Publishing Company’s Great Negros Past and Present:


The thing is, I’m sure this book has a lot of good information.  But I’m also sure if I read closer, it would be chock-full of racist language.  For instance:



“Mary McLeod Bethune:  Cotton picker, educator, White House adviser.”  Cotton picker?  I mean, I know that is true.  But the others in the book are listed by their ultimate role in society.  I’ve worked in the last ten years as a school librarian, a substitute teacher, a public library employee, a nursing home cook, a cleaning lady, etc.  Kids, don’t put “detassler” or “[substandard] waitress at Happy Chef” on my tombstone, okay?

Oh, here’s a fun one:  Walker, J.  The Rhyming Dictionary of the English Language in which the whole language is arranged according to its terminations.  1936:  E. P. Dutton and Co.


Do you like that official title?  Now, a rhyming dictionary might sound like a good idea for a poetry unit.  Perhaps it would, but only if it included words that people actually knew!  I did well on the vocabulary section of the GRE, but I’ve never heard of a firkin, let alone needed to rhyme it. (Oh of course!  It’s 56 pounds of butter!  How could I forget?)

There’s the book, Science experiments that people can eat, in very good cover condition as it’s from 1972.  But the pages are all yellowed, which is wholly unappetizing considering the title.  Ha ha.



There’s the standard one to throw away, the sequel where we don’t have the original.  Add that to a quiet dated book (1992), yellowed pages, and the fact that it’s a well-known author can’t even save it.


There’s the encyclopedias.  The set from 1988 wasn’t hard.  But Childcraft!  I have a hard time getting rid of this.  When I was a girl, a friend of mine had a Childcraft set at her house, and boy was I envious.  And yet, I know I honestly can’t keep this in the library (stained and all):


There’s the fabulous cover images, like this one from 1984 that could have been my husband back then:


 Here’s another that we picked up at last year’s literacy night.  But the art teacher tells me his daughter would read it.  (I think I’ll just give it to her.)


 Here’s a great one.  Don’t you want your kids carving pumpkins to look like Groucho Marx, with a cigar and everything?



Here’s an inside page of the book.  This is supposed to be a space monster.  I’m just not feeling it.  To me, it looks like Dad says, “Hey kids!  Let’s just glue some garbage on it and call it good!”  Martha Stewart would be appalled.



Here’s the only title I got rid of from the book room (several copies of the same book for Guided Reading).  It’s only from 2000, but this is definitely not today’s internet:


My husband and I actually met in an online chat forum – in 1989.  I don’t think the interwebs looked like this even then:


Do you read the Awful Library Books blog?  You should.  I’m going to paraphrase here, but they say, “For god’s sake, people.  Go do a search in your LIS for books with the word “retarded” and get rid of them!”  This is the second book like this I’ve found.


And finally, for those who have stuck with me, here is the ultimate in fabulously awful library books:



Wondering what custom windows to choose for your take-me-back van?  This is just for you, my friend:


“A statue and some potted palms are used to decorate the living room area.”  A statue?  Potted plants? 


Is that a decoration?  A radio?  A telephone?  A television?  Something to take you back to the future, from where you obviously traveled?
“Why is there a bed in the back of the van, Mommy?”  (Anyone remember the scene from The Facts of Life, with a young George Clooney stealing the school van or something?  I’ve always been suspicious of men with vans since then.)
I said this was fabulously awful, or is it awfully fabulous?
So I haven’t decided what to do with that one.  But I do know everyone should have as much fun at work as I do!
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