Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weeding Dilemma

If you follow me on twitter, then you know this summer and fall I've been weeding a library that has not been weeded in effectively 20 years. I'm finding some amazing/awful/atrocious stuff. Normally I'm a fairly efficient and decisive weeder. I like to think I do well at walking the fine line between far too ruthless and sentimental to the point of being a librarian-hoarder.
However, I've got a book that has me flummoxed.

Famous Negro Heroes of America by Langston Hughes. (blurry iPhone photo, apologies)
Copyright 1958 and that is the edition we have.


Cons: Not great condition, but not the worst. Passable-ish. Also potentially offensive title, slightly mitigated by the fact that it was written by Langston Hughes. Hasn't circulated since 2007.

Apparently this was part of an entire series of Famous Biographies for Young People, all listed on the back. And you can see below Hughes' name that he also wrote Famous Negro Music Makers which we do not own though the local University library does (shared catalog and reciprocal borrowing privileges).

So is this a classic because it is LANGSTON HUGHES or was this his quick contribution to a publisher series because dude had to eat you know. Or somewhere in the middle?

Thoughts? Weed? Keep? Try to fob off onto our local university? It hurts me to weed Langston Hughes, it really does, but condition and age and disuse speak against this one.

Related: My favorite TwitPics of books I'm weeding, but by no means a complete list. If I had photographed and tweeted everything that was ridiculously awful, I'd have doubled my time weeding. (all links should open in a new window, sorry I'm too lazy to re post them all here):
  • When you change the title because it is offensive, try totally changing it.
  • By "patriot" do you mean betrayed their people to the white man?
  • Maybe the 70s were different, but this picture does not seem to be advertising a children's story.
  • To be fair, I don't know that this book was every funny.
  • I don't think all clowns are inherently creepy, but really.
  • This status got published on page 17 of the September 2012 issue of School Library Journal!

1 comment:

SafeLibraries® said...

Entertaining blog post. Thanks.

As to Langston Hughes book, if you weed it out, why not have an adoption sale where people adopt weeded out books? Crazy fund raising idea?