Friday, August 14, 2009

The library books nobody wants to borrow

A website revealing the worst books on library shelves has become a surprise hit

unwanted library booksA blog set up by two public spirited librarians from Detroit cataloguing the worst books on library shelves has become an unexpected internet hit. From the 1983 hit Hanging Out - The Upside Down Exercise Book, to Vans: The Personality Vehicles, Holly Hibner and Mary Kelly hope that drawing attention to the books will encourage fellow librarians to clear their collections of obsolete, and just plain dreadful, titles.

Those featured on Awful Library Books have been languishing dusty on shelves for years. "It is a difficult thing to swap old books for new," says Hibner. "But in some subject areas – such as medical, legal and financial – having the most current information is crucial." Kelly agrees: "Librarians have a duty to make sure the best information is available." How To Get Out Of Debt, from 1976, for example, is on the shelves of a library in an area of Michigan that has been badly affected by the economic downturn. "They're giving them this? Wow. That's the librarian equivalent of malpractice," says Hibner.

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