Awful Library Books is a newish blog that’s been getting a bit of attention. I really hate to sound like a humorless, old-school librarian (especially since I am most definitely not one), but I’m a little troubled by the tone of Awful Library Books. Sure, some/most of the titles mentioned are pretty amusing, but do we really want to be getting rid of books once they are outdated?
According to the About page:
The items featured here are so old, obsolete, awful or just plain stupid that we are horrified that people might be actually checking these items out and depending on the information.
As far as I can tell, most of the books identified are “awful” simply by virtue of being old (and not really that old, at that).
I understand that most libraries need to weed collections to make room for new books, but I’m just a bit troubled by the message of Awful Library Books, which seems to be that libraries should only keep the most up-to-date books with wide appeal. The problem is that somebody has to keep the old books, so that we have a record of our cultural history. Moreover, I’m troubled by the general notion that books that seem frivolous or out-dated aren’t worth the shelf-space. That’s a kind of censorship that libraries usually rally against.