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Awful Library Books

I’m not sure how it took me so long to hear about the Awful Library Books blog, but I’m glad I found it. Or rather, that someone found it for me. I’ve long been a fan of bad book covers, and there are some remarkably bad romance novel covers out there, which I’m always looking for. For instance:

stargazer colby hodge

Before it moved over to its new domain, the tagline for the Awful Books blog was “The Shame of library collections everywhere.” Awesome. A quick lesson about library jobs and how we librarians manage the collections is in order.

Weeding library books = the best part of my job/hilarity unparalleled

Weeding means to look at the books on the shelves and get rid of anything that shouldn’t be there. I am currently in charge of my locati0ns’ collection from the Dewey numbers 600-649.

I take the books off the shelf, scan them, and look for reasons to either keep them or discard them–they actually go to the book sale when they get discarded. Reasons for discarding books include:

  • book damage
  • book has been half eaten
  • book has a bookmark made of bacon in it
  • irrelevant or outdated material–I have the medical section, so this is usually my main reason for getting rid of stuff, it just isn’t right to have books about “cutting edge” breakthroughs in medicine from 1999

Reasons books are sometimes kept when they should probably be discarded:

Covers like thiswhats-drunk-mama-cover over on the right. Wow. To date, I think my favorite cover that I have personally found was a book with a skull on the front. The skull was on fire. The title was: Crystal Meth…They Call It Ice.

I love to weed. Every time I pick up a book in my collection I know that I’m going to find something ludicrous, absurd, or wonderful. Maybe all three. And sometimes the books are great and the information in them is priceless, but someone at the publishing house left a drunk intern in charge when it came to cover selection.

Anyways, another slice of life from the library. Please go spend some time browsing the awful library books blog. It is truly fantastic and they’re adding to it all the time.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Julia December 7, 2010, 1:00 pm

    As the daughter of an alcoholic, I can tell you the “What’s Drunk Mama” was published by Al-Anon, because it was used in some counseling my mother took me to. But in retrospect the title is pretty hokey.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 7, 2010, 1:02 pm

      Thanks Julia. I would never, never mock the sentiment behind the book, but I can’t get over the cover.

  • Julia December 7, 2010, 1:04 pm

    Oh, the cover definitely a certain ’70s cheese factor to it.

  • Dermanus December 7, 2010, 1:07 pm

    When I worked at a library in my teens (about 10 years ago) we had a book on … male enhancement … techniques through history. According to the computer records it had never been checked out, but the book was still in rough shape.
    I just checked the catalogue for the library and it didn’t turn up, so maybe it did finally get discarded.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 7, 2010, 2:47 pm

      Yeah, we get a lot of heavily “used” books in the library that never seem to check out.

  • Eric | Eden Journal December 7, 2010, 1:38 pm

    I sense a new hobby coming on… Searching for the most bizare books I can find and quietly slipping them onto the shelves of my local library. Too bad I don’t live closer, I’d visit your library and target that 600 section. Of course this is probably a federal offence punishible by death, so I’ll have to be ultra covert. 🙂

  • cinderkeys December 7, 2010, 2:27 pm

    Heheheh. I work for a self-publishing company by day. I see Eric’s new hobby and raise.

  • Todd@Phitzone December 8, 2010, 7:36 am

    I’m sure the content is important, but I agree with you, Josh about the cover. That little girl has man-hands!

    Have you really found a bacon bookmark in a book?

  • Heather December 8, 2010, 9:19 am

    Wow. . . dig the Stargazer cover! And hey–a bacon bookmark. Now THAT takes some doin’. As a school librarian, I am constantly weeding my collection, and we’ve found some rather amusing stuff in the 900s. “I Married ADVENTURE” comes to mind. The 500s are always good too. Wow. . . . am heading to the Awful Library Books blog now. Thanks, man!

  • Vic Nunez December 9, 2010, 11:41 pm

    My all-time favorite is “Go Ask Alice” by Anonymous, a complete load of crap & scare tactics about an unidentified hippy who succumbs to drug abuse.

  • Vic Nunez December 9, 2010, 11:42 pm

    I wonder if you can get bacon bookmarks @archiemcphee.com; I’ll check!

  • Vic Nunez December 9, 2010, 11:46 pm
  • Amanda December 10, 2010, 3:34 pm

    It’s amazing what people use as bookmarks. One time my fiance found a woman’s unfilled Dr’s prescriptions in a library book. He tried calling the Dr’s office but couldn’t reach anyone.

    • Dermanus December 11, 2010, 8:36 pm

      Oddest thing I ever heard of anybody finding is Backsteet Boy tickets as a bookmark (we called the person). Best bookmark I personally ever found was a $20 bill. We never had bacon.

      • Josh Hanagarne December 14, 2010, 11:34 am

        You will admit that bacon is delicious, though, right?