Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dewey Dewey, oh no, me gotta go

Awful Library Books is a fun, newish blog, set up by a couple of Michigan librarians who have set out to create
...a collection of public library holdings that we find amusing and maybe questionable for public libraries trying to maintain a current and relevant collection.
In this sense it’s like the splendid Plaid Stallions, in that it pokes gentle fun at things that used to be current and relevant, but now seem faintly ludicrous. For example, this fascinating tome from 1993:


The concern is apparently that a young person coming across such a tome might think, “Hey, these old farts who run the library think we use big phones with those spiky bits coming out the top. And her shirt looks a bit Primark. Bollocks to that, let's go and rob the 7/11.”

Which would surely be a problem if the only reason people used libraries – the only reason people read books – were the Gradgrindian pursuit of the facts contained therein. But surely some people come to look at the books themselves; books like Ms Skurzynski’s fine work, a relic from 1993, a time before most people had cell phones, a time before txt and Twitter; a time of Whitney, not Britney; a time when the vast majority of Europeans didn’t have a bloody clue what the World Trade Center looked like. They wouldn’t read that book because they wanted to buy a new phone; they’d read it because they were interested in what people 16 years ago might have been thinking, doing, saying, buying, reading.
Years later he’d stood in the charred ruins of a library where blackened books lay in pools of water. Shelves tipped over. Some rage at the lies arranged in their thousands row on row.
—Cormac McCarthy, The Road

3 comments:

Morton Shadow said...

"Which would surely be a problem if the only reason people used libraries – the only reason people read books – were the Gradgrindian pursuit of the facts contained therein"

Absolutely. We use libraries to look up the skirts of the female librarians - why else do you think they put thiose bloody great ladders there???

;?

xxx
Mort

p.s. great Cormac quote.

p.p.s. matateab - yeah, but which *version* is it?

Richard said...

Thank goodness for the occasional library booksale for this is the kind of junk I fill boxes with at 25p a shot.

Tim Footman said...

Pants and junk. I despair.