We are collection obsessed and love talking and sharing about libraries. Not all the books are necessarily "awful", okay, some really are. This is a place where we can talk about library collections and share a few of the more absurd and out of date items hiding in libraries from all over the world.
Submitter: …not only did we have one copy but we had two copies of Batman. This novelization of the 1989 movie of the same name I am sure was popular at the time. But on reflection we have many different variations on the Batman story since this version. Additionally, the two copies just truly captures my library’s past philosophy on keeping pretty much everything, forever.
Holly: This was found in a rural public library. Superheroes are extremely popular, but people are more interested in the newer iterations. Movie novelizations do become dated, so keep your eye on them! In my library, patrons are definitely more interested in DC comics than movie novelizations for superhero stories.
A Woman Doctor Looks at Love and Life
This book is awesome. I hadn’t heard of Marion Hilliard, until I was taking a close look at this book. For 1957, this book is amazing. As an obstetrician, she developed the simple PAP test, educated women on sexual health, delivered babies, and advocated for women on a national and international level. This book is a compilation of the many articles she wrote for Chatelaine. Although medical information is always suspect (especially after 60 years), this might have a place in some libraries because of the author.
25 Exciting Computer Games in Basic for All Ages
I don’t know if BASIC is even still a thing at all, but even if it is for some reason used as a beginning coding teaching tool, the cover of this book is ridiculous. Are those 5″ floppies at the bottom right-hand corner of the cover?
A computer book from the early 80s is not “exciting. It is “basic”ly useless. See what I did there?
An Easy-Read Fact Book
Langley and Dugdale
Submitter: Cars have changed a little bit since 1987, when this book was published. The examples of common models are all discontinued, for example. The page on modern styling also looks pretty dated. The book did accurately predict that future cars would have lots of computer equipment, but the vision of a potential futuristic gas station in the year 2000 is less prescient.
Holly: This is a children’s book, found in a Detroit-area public library. Here in the Motor City, we love old car stuff…but this isn’t quite what car collectors and hobby mechanics are looking for – or their children.
The Liberated Man
Beyond Masculinity: Freeing Men and Their Relationships With Women
This book is all about masculinity and the response to the women’s movement. Farrell’s book suggests that men do benefit from gender equality. Gender roles and other societal pressures get in the way of a true mature relationship. For the time, this was a pretty groundbreaking book. He talks about the ten commandments of masculinity which include cultural rules such as don’t show vulnerability or emotions; always have an answer to all problems at all times. Though dated, it might make an interesting discussion topic for men and women today. He has other books that garnered more controversy. Depending on your collection objectives, you might find a place for this book.
This is one of those Better Homes and Gardens cookbook/how to manuals for dieting. The calories of the sample menu come in a 3 handy menus: 1000, 1200, and or you can go crazy with 1500 calorie per day. The recipes are okay. Note there is even a molded salad for your own dieting pleasure. There were lots of diet books around at the time and this is probably one of the more sane examples of the time. Side note: I am guessing that portion size is not reflected in the cover, or there is some trick photography going on. Those tacos look huge.
Woman’s Work Book
How to get your first job, re-enter the job market, fight for your rights in the work world and more.
Abarbanel and Siegel
Another book from the 1970s that is all about telling women how to get that first job. I like the concept of a book geared to first time job seekers. It is also a blast from another time with a whole chapter devoted to decoding newspaper want ads. I remember back when newspaper ads were categorized by male and female. Aside from the basic resume, cover letter book, nearly a quarter of the book is a directory of organizations that are to be used as a resource. This book would have been out dated probably within a few years of publication.
Goldberg’s book is on the heels of the second wave feminism and how the power dynamics have shifted in relationships. Essentially, Goldberg talks about how the notions of femininity and masculinity force an expectation that can prevent fully mature satisfying relationships. In my opinion, the 1980s featured lots of books about masculinity and led to a type of men’s movement. Robert Bly’s Iron John (1990) poetry and other authors that contributed to an ad-hoc men’s liberation type of movement. It was more or less a response to the women’s movement and was about men looking inward.
Interesting book and probably should be read along with others in talking about toxic masculinity. I doubt that a public library would find this useful anymore, but it is interesting for people of my age bracket to remember this kind of material.
I lived in the UK for a few years back in 1990s and was a Tesco regular. It took a while for me to adapt to some of the more interesting food choices or names. (I initially thought that Spotted Dick was some type of STD.)
There is nothing really wrong with this book, but I am cracking up at some of the delightful treats. Some actually sound like they would taste pretty good. (Wholemeal Vegetable Samosas, I’m looking at you.) I want to meet the person who has time to make delightful dishes to entertain the kids. Of course my kids fell on food like vultures, so I didn’t have to resort to food tricks. I have to say, I am not a big fan of food that looks like something else. Food should look like food.
As far as library collections go, cookbooks can go in and out of style. Old doesn’t necessarily make something a weeder, but I would put this little gem in a category like Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks. Popular for awhile, but not a keeper for all time.
The New How to Write for Homemakers
Richardson and Callahan
Submitter: To say that this book is dated is an understatement. Its gender bias is clear, if implicit. Chapters begin with metaphors likening writing and rhetoric to putting on a dress or following a recipe. The only explicit reference to a man shows him grilling at a barbecue. To be fair, though, the book does offer some reasonable advice on writing and rhetoric. For example, an unappetizing photograph of pineapple in jello does make a few valid points about visual rhetoric. Of course, we would better serve our patrons by providing a contemporary work over this.
Holly: Submitter included that this was found in an academic library outside of North America that “padded its shelves largely via book donations from developed countries.” The university now has resources to fund the library, but many collections have never been weeded.
It’s time, my friends! Get in there and have at it. (But pace yourself if there’s a lot of this kind of thing.) Cute, but not functional at a university library.