Friday, February 10, 2012

"Awful" Presidential Books

I enjoy the blog "Awful Library Books." This actually isn't about books being awful or anything, but rather how libraries need to weed because books do eventually become obsolete and given we don't have unlimited storage space, we have to change books as we buy newer, more useful books. I can go on for days (I have a library science degree....), but suffice it say, weeding is GOOD. So the books (well most of them!) weren't "awful" when purchased, but now, years later, don't belong on a public library shelf anymore (they might belong somewhere else, like an archive, but not a public library). Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the presidential weeders (again, not for a public library...most of these would be a good historical perspective piece for an archives) for some Friday fun.

Jimmy Who
This book discusses the candiancy of Jimmy Carter, published, you guessed it, in 1976. Obviously a great historical piece for a student of Carter's presidency, but for a student researching Carter, utterly useless as this doesn't even yet know Carter was president!

Hillary Rodham Clinton
This book, at first glance, seems like a great choice as Hillary Clinton is obviously still a powerful political force. But this book was published in 1997, when she was still First Lady. Obviously, she has accomplished much more since then and any student writing a paper on her would miss all this. They all know her as Secretary of State or possibly also as a Senator (and a possible President)!

Why President Nixon Should Be Impeached
Again, like the Carter book, a great choice for an archives, but useless sitting on a public library shelf as Nixon has resigned and is now even deceased! This book was published before I was born...that says it all when talking about politics and a public library, in my opinion!

Tipper Gore
This was written in 1993...obviously a student in high school today probably wouldn't even know who Tipper Gore was. If you click on this link, check out the entire list of "leading ladies" they covered....some are dead (Princess Diana), many have changed (Hillary Clinton again!) and some would mean nothing to a high schooler today (Raisa Gorbachev...who is actually also dead, I had to look).

The Changing Vice Presidency
This was written in 1981, so the vice presidency has done some changing since then as well! In addition, let's face it...for an academic library this would have been a good buy, might even be still useful to have (as well we have some new VPs, the VP itself hasn't shifted that much), but why a public library ever bought this one......just my opinion......

So why did I do this? Well, because they are funny to consider what might still be sitting on YOUR public's library shelves (go look, then go complain and ask them to weed....) and because I wanted to rant on the necessity of weeding. Obviously, from a historical perspective, these are good books that reflect when they were written. But we want our students well educated on our presidents...and that means current books!

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