Monday, May 13, 2013

And now for something completely different.

Remember when I started this blog and I was going to use it primarily to talk about books, since talking about books is a big part of my job? Ha, ha! I was so cute. I should have known me better.

But today, an honest-to-goodness librarian post about a book that came up as part of a discussion on my state librarian email chain about why we weed out-of-date, inaccurate, and irrelevant books from our collections on a regular basis. Our patrons sometimes get angry that we are throwing perfectly good books away, and it helps to be able to show them an example. And this is one hell of an example.

If you've ever wondered why we librarians can't keep every book we and our predecessors have ever bought on our shelves for all eternity, even if we have plenty of empty space, I give you exhibit A, discovered on her picture book shelves by an elementary librarian her first year on the job less than a decade ago:

Epaminondas and His Auntie.

When you open the link, look off to the left where it says "View the book." Take a moment and read it.

Did you catch the old-timey racism with a side of animal cruelty? (Maybe not racism so much as naive and offensive racial stereotyping, but why split hairs?)

And this is why librarians weed their collections. Times change, attitudes change, and even facts change. (Exhibit B: the planet formerly known as Pluto.) Even fiction can become irrelevant and, yes, distasteful.

The more you know. (Insert network logo and theme music here.)

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