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  1. #1
    Patrick Thistle's Avatar
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    Public library stocking policy

    On the latest WSC thread there's a discussion about donating old magazines you libraries. I don't think they'd want them, but there you go.

    However, that discussion reminded me of a very annoying run in I had with a library staff member a few years ago. I was looking into a relatively rare medical condition and want into our library hoping they had some books on it. I checked out three books. One of them was nothing more than a book-sized advert for the author's woo-based "cure" complete with regular details where to buy his snake oil.

    When I took the book back I raised this discovery with a staff member who disdainfully told me that libraries had to stock a 'range' of views, and that they just ordered in books depending on the topics they listed and didn't review them when they got in. He then got snotty about censorship when I said some kind of quality control would actually benefit people.

    I can feel myself getting annoyed about it while writing this years later. It was the attitude more than anything. I now wonder if I should have told him the library could be sued if someone followed the advice in the book, or taken it up with someone more senior. I'm sure whatever policy they have doesn't cover stocking books written solely to sell treatments.

    The absence of quality control was disconcerting. The shitty attitude of that staff member made it much worse. It really affected my feelings towards libraries, which I know are under threat. It has meant when I've filled out the council surveys asking what the council should prioritise with funding I've probably selected the libraries below other things as a result.

    Rant over.

  2. #2
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    I suspect there are worse example, such as Holocaust denial books sneaking into the history section.

  3. #3

    Wise, witty and ready to please
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    I remember the "science" section of the small library near where I grew up had perhaps five or six books on space. One of these was called "Who Built The Moon?"

  4. #4
    Patrick Thistle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satchmo Distel View Post
    I suspect there are worse example, such as Holocaust denial books sneaking into the history section.
    Well that's kind of my point. And I'd imagine the arse I spoke to would say something about balance and not censoring the shelf contents, in a supercilious tone.

  5. #5
    Felicity, I guess so's Avatar
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    When I 1st got a job in French at the poly, the Euro history section of the library had several David Irving books which it took a long while to persuade the staff to remove from open access

  6. #6
    imp's Avatar
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    Couldn't you smuggle them out and dump them in a skip? "Anyone seen the Irving collection?" Nope, sorry, not my kind of thing.

  7. #7
    Felicity, I guess so's Avatar
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    Removal to a stack and permission needed to access them (dissertation or postgrad) seemed an acceptable compromise at the time. I did take 2 to the counter in an oxfam bookshop and ask if they really wanted to be selling them, which didnít go down too well.

  8. #8
    Patrick Thistle's Avatar
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    Given recent developments, that story could get you on the front page of the Times, FIGS.

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