April 26, 2016

"God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod: The Art of Loving Correction for Christian Parents."

One of many books the librarians of Awful Library Books have targeted for deaccessioning. And:
Sometimes it’s the subject matter that seems absurd. Of “Wax in Our World,” a nonfiction book for young adults, Kelly said, “Who came into a publisher’s office and said, you know, the kids really need a book about wax?”
The idea is to free up space by removing books that are actually bad rather than going by how often the book has been checked out. Many great books are rarely checked out, but you should want them on the shelves.

AND: Though I laughed hysterically reading that bit about wax, I sobered up and read the Wikipedia article on wax and think it is a great topic for a young adult book. It could spark interest in chemistry and manufacturing. Kids are familiar with beeswax and ear wax and candles and crayons. What makes wax wax? What is wax useful for? There are wax museums — why wax? — and lava lamps. There's the lost-wax method of casting sculpture. There's sealing wax and ancient wax writing tablets. There's waxed paper and wax shoe polish. There's the wax put around cheeses. You might excite some girls (and boys) about chemistry with the wax that's in lipstick and mascara. There's the wax you put on skis and snowboards. There's the wax used in making designs on batik fabric and on Easter eggs. And it's good for jokes:
Wagstaff's Receptionist: The Dean is furious! He's waxing wroth!
Professor Wagstaff: Is Roth out there, too? Tell Roth to wax the Dean for awhile.

74 comments:

Alexander said...

Many great books are rarely checked out, but you should want them on the shelves.

Why?

For serious. If the purpose of the library is to increase literacy among those whose reading is to some degree dependent on the book being available for free, and not simply to virtue signal that you support the 'right' books by giving them shelf space...

Why should I want to pay for my city to put a bunch of books nobody actually wants to read on shelves. Why should anyone wish to subsidize this unless again, you want to be able to tell everyone that you are doing everything you can to ensure Tyrone and Jose have access to classics?

Course, soon that will be cultural imperialism and racist if you have an incorrect ratio of Chekhov and Shakespeare compared to Romance novels about bad boy pastors.

Probably irrelevant though: not like the city library isn't just a place for blacks to get free internet these days, anyway.

Phil 3:14 said...

Librarians declare:

"WE ARE RELEVANT DAMMIT!

rhhardin said...

Operant Conditioning for Parents might pass.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Alexander

I believe it was Mark Twain that said that great books are like wine while his were like water, and everybody drinks water. It may also have been him that said that a great book is one that everybody talks about, but nobody has read.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/walrus.html

Ron Winkleheimer said...

You can find the book on beating your children on Amazon. The following is from a one star review. (This thing actually has 3 1/2 stars proving MPAI.)

I went to the church Larry Tomczak helped to start. As a result of this teaching, parents walked around with spanking instruments in their pockets, ready to walk through the whole spanking procedure for incidents as minor as toddlers not greeting a stranger properly. Kids were spanked multiple times a day for not obeying "immediately, cheerfully, and completely" and then spanked for not receiving the "correction" correctly.

The author has also been personally named in a class-action lawsuit with the following allegations:
"Carla Coe is a female who was repeatedly abused by Defendant Tomzcak, primarily in Maryland and Virginia. Due to the nature of the lawsuit, she wishes to use the pseudonym Carla Coe to keep her identity confidential. Carla Coe brings this action on her behalf and on behalf of those similarly situated.

FACTS REGARDING CARLA COE

Carla Coe was repeatedly assaulted by Defendant Tomczak and his co-conspirators during a 25-year period spanning her childhood and young adulthood. Defendant Tomczak assaulted Carla Coe with his hands, as well as with various instruments, including but not limited to, plastic and wooden sticks.

On multiple occasions, including occasions after Carla Coe reached the age of majority, Defendant Tomczak forced Karla Coe to strip out of her clothing against her will, and be beaten on her bare buttocks. Defendant Tomczak continued to engage in this forced undressing and beating of Carla Coe until she fled and escaped from the abuse.

On several occasions, Defendant Tomczak imprisoned Carla Coe and denied her food for extended periods of time.


So it would appear that the author leads some kind of cult.

Gahrie said...

I hope Dr. Spock is burning in Hell.

Meade said...

Ball Of Whacks

MikeR said...

Ball Of Whacks
:)

Meade said...

Gahrie said...
"I hope Dr. Spock is burning in Hell."

Why? Because he won on Olympic gold medal in 1924?

Ann Althouse said...

Here's why you want to keep those old books: "I did find what seemed to be a clue to [the origin of the whole ball of wax], in a disintegrating paperback in my library — a science-fiction novel of 1954 by Shepherd Mead, who two years before had written How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Called The Big Ball of Wax, it’s a futuristic satire on business and advertising in America and contains this line from the narrator, a market research man, about the story to come: “Well, why don’t we go back to the beginning and roll it all up, as the fellows say, into one big ball of wax?”, that is, put everything together to make a coherent and complete whole. This sounds too much like a fuller and less elliptical early version of the saying to be a coincidence."

rhhardin said...

Spare the pod and spoil the chili.

Sebastian said...

Good. So no more Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Simone de Beauvoir, no more Bill McKIbben or Rachel Carson or Paul Ehrlich, no more Audacity of Hope or Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, no more Alice Walker or Toni Morrison or Ta-whatever Coates.

Laslo Spatula said...

Important childhood lessons in wax.

As told to Ralph Macchio: Wax On, Wax Off.

Add 'Wax Off' joke here.

I am Laslo.

boycat said...

The idea is to free up space by removing books that are actually bad rather than going by how often the book has been checked out.

Great, the little old spinsters making up the population of librarians get to make that call.

traditionalguy said...

Wax is a very good thing. It seems 30% of the cell walls in all human flesh are composed of a waxy sterol. And there is a huge Pharmaceutical/ Medical Industrial Complex based soley on stopping the body's production of that wax.

Brian said...

So the librarians are doing the exact thing that they call "banning books" when it is suggested by parents or community members. Charming.

Todd said...

I understand that libraries have finite space and have to remove books from the shelves for reasons of space and as books get worn out.

That said, why is it that I suspect the "purge" of material is not and will not always be done through unbiased review of the available stock of books?

Why is it that I strongly suspect books by curtain types of authors and on curtain subjects will show up on the purge list more often than can be statistically expected?

And lets not even get into the process for selecting books to stock in the first place...

Laslo Spatula said...

They are going to need to clear some shelf space for when "The Wisdom of Laslo" is published.

It's going to be a big book.

Educational for children.

I am Laslo.

Todd said...

Librarian 1 to librarian 2: Toss those copies of "Wuthering Heights", we have to make room for another copy of "Mary has two Mommies" and "Fish don't needs bicycles"...

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Back when I was a little kid, there were these little wax bottles. They contained some kind of a fruit-flavored, sugary syrup.

Some kids would gulp down the liquid and then chew on the wax as if it were chewing gum.

Disgusting.

And don't get me started on my peers who would chew on paper.

Gross.

Laslo Spatula said...

Excerpt from "The Wisdom of Laslo"

It sucks to be a child. Everyone tells you what to do, and you have no say in any of it. You can't wait to be an adult and be free to do whatever you want, whenever you want: it can't get here fast enough.

The only thing that sucks more is when you are an adult and realize all the shit you could've gotten away with as a child but were afraid to do. Too late now.

There is no Freedom in adulthood.

The adults that tell you otherwise are lying. Adults always lie, especially to themselves.

Kiss the Girl, dammit.

I am Laslo.

Gabriel said...

A library that has only the books that are popular now, is a like a dictionary that has only the words you already know.

My local libraries have almost nothing but kid's books, whatever's been on the best-seller lists, and DVDs.

I understand the argument that the library, being supported by taxpayers, should carry the books people want to read. But if the library is going to do that, then why does it need taxpayer support? Let it charge what it wants and stock what people want to have and turn a profit.

My point is that most people don't read anyway. If the library is going to follow a customer service model it either won't exist or it would make a profit from paying customers. There used to be any number of libraries not supported by the government, some lent for-profit and some were paid for by wealthy patrons.

"But what about encouraging reading?" Well, if you want the library supported by tax money to encourage people to read who don't want to read and won't read unless it's free and the same schlock they can get at the Walmart book section for $6, then you are no different from people like me, who want libraries to stock books regardless of who wants to read them.

There's fads in reading tastes. I see nothing wrong with keeping old books like Twain's and Dickens'. Those were the popular literature of their day after all. If the library were about customer service and today's bestsellers then it doesn't need taxpayer support.

Peter said...

"Many great books are rarely checked out, but you should want them on the shelves."

Most public libraries are heavily influenced by what the American Library Association thinks you should be reading. And, no, they're not classics, they're either nonfiction about trendy subjects (lots and lots of alarmist global warming tracts, few if any by skeptics) and fiction with trendy themes that promote ALA's views on social justice.

Given the inherent corruption in having a librarian priesthoold determine what "you should want on the shelves" and just using an algorithm based on what people actually check out, I'd go with the latter. Although it probably should be modified to reflect that rapid returns often indicate the borrower abandoned the book before finishing it.

tim in vermont said...

There are occasionally kids with curiosity who love libraries for this kind of stuff. This is more Winston Smith memory hole stuff. 1984 will be reserved for the party elite in the "how to" section.

tim in vermont said...

Remember wax whistles? I sometimes spent a nickel on one but it is lost to me why. I think I liked the music,or maybe just the noise.

Alexander said...

Gabriel,

There was a time that libraries catered to people who did want to read, but in a age of pre-internet - hell, in the days of pre-logistics driven big box book store - the cost and availability of books was prohibitive.

Maybe there are still the occasional libraries like that now. But in the age of internet and ebooks - a system so cheap it's destroying the big box book... the reality is that anyone who wants a copy of War and Peace has it at their fingertips.

The public library is now by and large a place for those with no inclination to read books to enjoy free internet, ruled by those who long for the glory days of effective gate keeping.

And I shall not be swayed by the arguments that we need a public collection of classics because as others point out, this will rapidly be converged by SJWs and progressives of all stripes until 'books we need to maintain' means that too much Twain is racistsexist and we need more of the "approved" lists, all of which is curiously about gay transgender feminists who fight climate change.

Rule of thumb: don't trust the irreplaceable with those hostile to it. If the Classics are valuable, then you would be well advised to maintain a copy of your own. It's what I do.

Ann Althouse said...

"Perhaps nothing says more about the modest range of pleasures of the age than that the most popular candies of my childhood were made of wax. You could choose among wax teeth, wax pop bottles, wax barrels, and wax skulls, each filled with a small amount of colored liquid that tasted very like a small dose of cough syrup. You swallowed this with interest if not exactly gratification, then chewed the wax for the next ten or eleven hours. Now you might think there is something wrong with your concept of pleasure when you find yourself paying real money to chew colorless wax, and you would be right of course. But we did it and enjoyed it because we knew no better. And there was, it must be said, something good, something healthily restrained, about eating a product that had neither flavor nor nutritive value."

Bryson, Bill (2006-10-17). The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir (pp. 95-96). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Ann Althouse said...

I spent a lot of allowance money on wax lips, wax teeth, wax mustaches, and wax fingertips (with long red nails). All of these were chewable and had some flavoring, probably matching the color (so the black mustache, which had an extension that you held in your mouth to keep it on, had a licorice flavor).

These were a lot better than the little 6-packs of wax "soda" bottles with syrup inside.

Mike Sylwester said...

I live in South Hackensack, New Jersey. Because of my town's small population (2,250), it never has had a public library. We were allowed to check out books from the Hackensack library for free, because our town paid Hackensack for that privilege. For budget reasons, however, our town government terminated those payments in about 2010, and so we no longer have check-out privileges at any library.

In 2013, in order to consult a reference book, I visited the Hackensack library for the first time in about three years. I was shocked by the disappearance of a large portion – a fifth? – of the books.

I asked a staff member what had happened. She said that many books were removed during the past year and a half, because they had not been checked out in 40 years. There was plenty of shelf space for the unused books, but they were burdening the computer database.

I looked at the library’s Shakespeare collection, which I had used often. I counted only 76 books, occupying only about half of three shelves. In my memory, the collection had been about twice that size.

Practically all the remaining Shakespeare books were written at high-school or undergraduate-college levels. The scholarly books were gone.

These three shelves were in a row of book cases that now were mostly empty. Hundreds of books about English literature had been removed.

I went to the much smaller library of Elmwood Park, NJ, and counted 125 Shakespeare books -- a collection of much higher intellectual quality.

When I still had had a Hackensack Library card, I had checked out Professor Bernard Grebanier’s book The Truth About Shylock, published in 1962, a 369-page book about The Merchant of Venice. Although the book still was in good condition, although it’s still the best scholarly book about the play, and although I myself checked it out in recent years, this book has been removed by 2013.

The library’s catalog database indicates Grebanier's book still is available through inter-library loan from five other NJ public libraries. Those five remaining copies were borrowed last in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2013. Although all five libraries have lent the book in recent years, I expect that all soon will follow Hackensack’s example and remove it. After all, the book is 50 years old, and only a minuscule number of eggheads would want to read it.

These Shakespeare books are merely a small part of a large trend. Much of the intellectual cream is being skimmed off the libraries’ collections about all subjects. Books that are old, difficult to read, and rarely checked out are removed, even though they are intellectually important – and even though the shelves are becoming emptier and emptier.

Many books had to be removed, I was told, because the library system’s computer database was over-burdened. The database contains all the books in 76 public libraries in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic Counties. The libraries have plenty of empty shelf space, but the database works slowly with so many records.

Unknown said...

As a boy who grew up in a small town without bookstores or book-reading parents, I owe much of my joy in life to the local librarians who took care of great and good books and, from time to time, made recommendations based on my borrowings.

Without them I would have been left entirely to the bored hostility of ignorant, petty, and immovable public school teachers.

Ann Althouse said...

We also melted paraffin in a pot on the stove and dipped fall leaves into it to preserve them.

Fernandinande said...

"God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod: The Art of Loving Correction for Christian Parents."

"The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking."

It's a bogus "study" because, as usual, they ignore genetics.

The correct conclusion is probably that parents with anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties are more likely to spank their kids, since all those characteristics are heritable.

Expat(ish) said...

@Mike - great post!

I make it a point to request that my library buy books I like. It's the little dutch cis-boy at the dike, I know, but there are three libraries with Sledge's "The Old Breed." Maybe it'll spark someone who is waiting for facebook time on the library computer.

-XC

PS - Most of the classics are available for free on gutenberg.org. And the Amazon marketplace has some amazing stuff in it - though the Trollope is free at G, I bought a copy of all the works in order for $1 for my kindle.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

And I shall not be swayed by the arguments that we need a public collection of classics because as others point out, this will rapidly be converged by SJWs and progressives of all stripes until 'books we need to maintain' means that too much Twain is racistsexist

We are well past that point already. Huckleberry Finn is a frequent target because it uses the N word and Jim (one of the more intelligent and brave characters in the book) speaks in what would have been an authentic dialect, but is now seen as derogatory.

Many books had to be removed, I was told, because the library system’s computer database was over-burdened.

I think they are lying in that it is cheaper to simply throw out books than to upgrade the computer system. But upgrading the computer system would be affordable, if they had any wish to do so. But they don't want to upgrade the computer system because the long term plan is to get out of the knowledge business (which is what libraries used to be about) and convert the libraries to community centers.

Mike Sylwester said...

My wife and I go to estate sales almost every weekend. My only interest is buying books. The going rate is $1 for hardcovers and 50¢ for paperbacks. Usually I buy them even cheaper because my wife puts them in a box of her purchases and then haggles the entire box's price down.

Eventually, too many books pile up in our home, and so I purge my collection and donate boxes full of my superb but excess books to library book sales. Then I go to those sales and give my donated books an affectionate hug, wishing that each will find a new, loving owner. And, of course, I buy some books at these library sales.

These library book sales always end with a lot of books left over, even though the price is $5 a bag-full on the last afternoon. At a recent sale, I asked what happened to the left-over books. I was told that on a following day non-profit organizations are allowed to take books for free. Then some company loads them all up and ships them to Africa. I hope that's true.

I am afraid that libraries will stop having these sales, because so many books are left over. People who had a lot of books are dying off, and the heirs are donating the books to library book sales. There is a huge glut in this "market", and the glut is getting worse. Too few people want to buy books, even for $5 a bag-full.

Jay Vogt said...

I'll admit it: I did not know the meaning of the word "Deaccession", although I could roughly deduce it.

I wonder(and kind of predict) if it might become a new trendy word. Much like its complementary cousin, "curate". As a matter of fact, I guess it's its inverse.

"Curate" became the fancy way to describe any vaguely accretive assembly of things, people or ideas in all fields, not just museums.

"Deaccession" could fill the same role. only deconstructively. As in, "after years of curating a home, now that the kids have left we are deaccessing".

Yes, yes I like that. It sounds so much more noble than, "We are throwing out a lot of really used up stuff".

Birches said...

I thought libraries were against banning books....

Mike Sylwester said...

Ron Winkelheimer at 9:30 AM

... the long term plan is to get out of the knowledge business (which is what libraries used to be about) and convert the libraries to community centers

Yes, that is what is happening.

traditionalguy said...

In 1961 we guys all went to Junior Achievement in Buckhead where they sponsored us to manufacture something and to sell it to turn us into entrepreneurs.

We did Bees Wax Candles. They were easy to make from sheets of wax rolled around a wick. And we boxed and wrapped them up in cellophane sets and sold them. We really made good money, although we had quite a few unsold boxes left over around the house for many years.

A free candle is a useful item.

Alexander said...

I feel bad for those kids in Africa. Books that nobody wants even for $5 a bag... they've probably got twenty copies of Bell Hooks and a dozen of "Secret of the Andes".

No wonder literacy is such a problem there - if I had been given a choice as a child between reading Secret of the Andes or living a barely-sustenance-maintaining lifestyle at risk from everything from lions to ebola...

I'm just saying it would have merited consideration.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Most of the classics are available for free on gutenberg.org. And the Amazon marketplace has some amazing stuff in it

I bought the Ultimate Edgar Rice Burroughs Collection (30 novels) for Kindle for 99 cents. Not exactly great books, but everything doesn't have to be about expanding your mind.

If you are interested in expanding your mind, gutenberg.org is great. But somewhat limited. Search on Shakespeare and you are going to find his most popular plays, but the site seems to lack anything by Tertullian. No matter, a search on bing yields:

http://tertullian.org

I'm not saying that converting libraries to community centers is necessarily a bad thing. The world has changed.

Libraries came into existence when text was printed on to material that was manufactured by processing tree trunks into pulp which was then bleached and dried into sheets of what was called paper. This was an expensive process and buying a book was a major expense for many. So rich philanthropists invented the idea of the "lending library" so that less well off people could access books in the hopes that those that could benefit from it would be able to educate themselves and in doing so become more humane and economically useful. Eventually local governments took over the responsibility of building and maintaining lending libraries because it began to be seen as something that municipal governments should provide if they could afford it, just as schooling children was seen as the responsibility of the government.

That world no longer exists.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

People who had a lot of books are dying off, and the heirs are donating the books to library book sales. There is a huge glut in this "market", and the glut is getting worse. Too few people want to buy books, even for $5 a bag-full.

I have a friend who is also a fellow bibliophile. He has literally thousands of hardback books of a scholarly nature. He worries about what will happen to them when he dies because he knows that nobody will want them.

My book obsession annoys my wife no end. She sees no need for me to purchase further books, even from estate sales, when I have a huge pile that I still haven't read. But the tactile feel of a book is part of the reading experience for me.

Recently I purchased some blackberries and while eating them I told my wife that blackberries taste like childhood. (I used to pick blackberries as a child and eat them right off the bush.) I think feeling the book in my hand is similar. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of going to the library and looking for a book. Taking it down and leafing through it.

Reading is about feeling and smelling as much as the actual reading.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...

...because the long term plan is to get out of the knowledge business (which is what libraries used to be about) and convert the libraries to community centers.

The same with schools.

Unknown said...

My book obsession annoys my wife no end.

Mine, too. Before I married her, I didn't know that bookcases and built-ins are meant for displaying petrified drift wood.

tim in vermont said...

Wax whistles were basically pan flutes. Easy to play and kind of musical. Maybe they played a pentatonic scale, IDK.

tim in vermont said...

I never could figure out why I chewed them except I was supposed to.

Gabriel said...

I don't we should forget, either, that libraries are not merely places to read. They are also places for study and research. As such, they ought to have books that are not read all that often, but are pretty important to have when you need them. For example, if you want to read Samuel Pepys' diaries, which you should if you want to understand that period of history. This is no uncensored edition available online, and purchasing it is prohibitively expensive.

Well, as long as the big university libraries allow community memberships I guess that function can be covered for the 0.0001% of the population that likes to spend their time studying something.

@Ron Winkleheimer: the long term plan is to get out of the knowledge business (which is what libraries used to be about) and convert the libraries to community centers.

On the nose.

Alexander said...

Pepys' diary is available for free as an ebook on Amazon.

So it's prohibitive only if buying a smartphone is prohibitive. Which does not seem to be the case for the perpetually under privileged.

As a paper copy, it's running between $10 and $20. I am certain you could find it used for less.

Gabriel said...

@Alexander:Pepys' diary is available for free as an ebook on Amazon.

As I said, "There is no uncensored edition available online, and purchasing it is prohibitively expensive." The censored editions are out of copyright and are free, yes.

As a paper copy, it's running between $10 and $20.

Per volume. Which makes it, as I said "prohibitively expensive"; the total is going to run you well over a hundred dollars not including shipping.

MayBee said...

The feeling of soft wax against your biting teeth is one of life's great pleasures.

Alexander said...

Alright, fair enough.

jelink said...

Per volume. Which makes it, as I said "prohibitively expensive"; the total is going to run you well over a hundred dollars not including shipping.

**************

Available on ABEbooks.com, at this moment:

The Diary Of Samuel Pepys
Lord Braybrooke
Published by Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2004
ISBN 10: 1419159291 / ISBN 13: 9781419159299
Used / Paperback / Quantity Available: 2

Price : $3.07
Free shipping

"This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work."

Thank me very much, as Mark Levin would say.

Mike Sylwester said...

Ignorance is Bliss at 10:33 AM

...because the long term plan is to get out of the knowledge business (which is what libraries used to be about) and convert the libraries to community centers.

The same with schools.


Thread winner.

Gabriel said...

@jelink: Yes, I am aware that someone who really wanted to read one, and only one, rare and old book could afford to buy one.

But what if you need to consult a hundred, because you are doing research? And what do you do when you move on to another topic? And what if the books aren't found online because the Internet is a million miles wide and a millimeter deep?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if some repository existed where old and rare books could be kept against the day that someone needed to consult them, and it could be shared by lots of people? Perhaps they might even be allowed to borrow them for a time, or shall we say "check them out"?

Gabriel said...

@jelink: Besides, that copy is censored. As I have repeatedly said, "There is no uncensored edition available online, and purchasing it is prohibitively expensive." Uncensored editions are still in copyright because they were only transcribed in the late 70s.

If the goddamned Google had it, I wouldn't be talking about THIS book but some other book that is also not available for free online and is prohibitively expensive to buy. Don't you think Google is the first thing anyone checks?

Danno said...

As Ann is waxing eloquently on some our memories from the 1950s of the childhood pleasures of wax, the commentariat are waxing on the waning importance of libraries.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Gabriel

Censored or just abridged? Censor has a negative connotation that the government prohibited something from being published. Abridged just means that some editor thought some parts of it would not be interesting so they took them out.

Kelly Maenpaa said...

The library in my hometown was adequate for the most part - I used it to augment what I could find in the library at my elementary school. The doors leading to the main reading room were heavy and covered with worked leather. I loved the smell of the wood paneling and the ancient carpets on the floors. In winter we kids were required to leave our boots in the vestibule so that we didn't track in salt/sand with the slush from the streets.

Our town was also part of the state college system which meant town residents had access to the college's facilities. Once I hit junior high I haunted the library. Between research for term papers and reading for fun I was in there a lot. And these were the good old days when research meant using the card catalog and various reference books to find back issues of magazines, and access newspaper clippings on microfiche. For me even the process to find these things was a source of joy.

@ Ann: Waxed paper was and still is a staple in the kitchen. As a kid I was sent to school with my sandwiches wrapped in wax paper (this was in the 70s and 80s). It's a lot easier the lick the extra peanut butter and fluff off wax paper than off a plastic sandwich baggie. I use paraffin wax for candy making at Christmastime (melting it into chocolate when dipping keeps the outside layer firm) and of course for preserving jams and jellies.

Ann Althouse said...

"As Ann is waxing eloquently on some our memories from the 1950s of the childhood pleasures of wax, the commentariat are waxing on the waning importance of libraries."

I should be: waxing eloquent (not waxing eloquently). It's not about applying wax, but waxing as in the waxing of the moon: growing (ie, becoming).

That's why it's "waxing wroth" and not "waxing wrathfully."

Alexander said...

There is an unintended irony of discussing the nuance of 'censored' versus 'abridged' in a thread generally calling bullshit on librarians trying to claim a nuance between what they themselves are censoring or not censoring.

Gabriel's point is good in spirit. Yes, we might somehow find a cheap version of Pepys'. We could even question whether most libraries even have a full, unabridged/uncensored copy of the diaries, therefore rendering them as a defense of libraries possibly moot...

But that would be missing the actual point he was making, and not the specific example he gave. There is a body of work that, in the aggregate, is too expensive for most individuals to own. It is therefore a public good to maintain such an archive for general use, that a passing knowledge of them by the masses is to some degree necessary to maintain an existing western culture and tradition.

Gabriel wins this round, +1 points for public libraries, at least as an ideal of what public libraries should be.

Gabriel said...

@Ron Winkleheimer:Censored or just abridged?

Expurgated. If you've read the diary, you know why.

@Alexander:at least as an ideal of what public libraries should be.

Well, right now they are places where you can get DVDs and drink coffee. Libraries as they are I think are not much worth defending, except the big traditional ones. Either libraries should go back to what they were, or they should privatize and just cater to customers.

tim in vermont said...

Wax on, then.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

There is a body of work that, in the aggregate, is too expensive for most individuals to own. It is therefore a public good to maintain such an archive for general use, that a passing knowledge of them by the masses is to some degree necessary to maintain an existing western culture and tradition.

I agree with this, but that leads to the question of whether libraries as we think of them, buildings filled with books printed on dead trees, is the most useful way of accomplishing this.

Local libraries existed because they needed to be accessible. However, they could not stock every book available because of space and budgetary constraints. So, if you needed to access a book not available at the local library you could get one shipped to you via inter-library loan.

However, some books for whatever reason, would not be loaned out. You had to access them while in the library. In the case when you needed to access a book that was not available locally nor via inter-library loan you would have to travel to the book. People who did this were generally known as "scholars."

What I'm getting at is that the repository you propose and that libraries (as an aggregate) provided can be duplicated without the buildings and physical books. The chances that the local library where I lived had an unabridged copy of Pepy's diaries is slim. If I wanted to access a copy I most likely would have had to travel to access it. Since the same situation holds today, I fail to see that the current situation is inferior.

However, I can access books that most likely were not included in my local library without travel and free of cost. Therefore, I argue that my situation has improved and that it will continue to improve.

Ron Winkleheimer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Gabriel

Expurgated. If you've read the diary, you know why.

Well I haven't read it, didn't even know it existed. However I have ordered a paperback from Amazon. Though apparently it is expurgated.

One of the reasons I like hanging around here is that I learn stuff. I'm pretty much an autodidact, and there are distinct disadvantages to that.

OK, I checked and wikipedia says early transcribers left out the sexy parts.

Michael K said...

"The Diary Of Samuel Pepys
Lord Braybrooke"

What is that, a commentary ?

I have Pepys diary and it is 12 volumes.

Michael K said...

"I use paraffin wax for candy making at Christmastime (melting it into chocolate when dipping keeps the outside layer firm) and of course for preserving jams and jellies."

My wife and I used to make Christmas candles from wax. It's a fun project and we gave them as gifts. You can make a candle that has five wicks. It looks like a candelabra.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

You know, it occurs to me that I should ask my friend with the huge library if he has the unexpurgated Pepy's diary. It would not surprise me if he did. And if he doesn't I bet his brother does. He has an even larger library.

Alexander said...

But does he have a larger library than Pepys'?

Not only did Pepys' library have many books, it was the first (and for a long time) only library to have the complete diaries.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

According to wikipedia Pepy was a bibliophile with 3000 volumes in his library. The entire library can be found at Magdalene College, Cambridge and the books"form one of the most important surviving 17th century private libraries."

I think my friend may have a larger library, but of course books are much cheaper now.

Jack Wayne said...

How many of you know that virtually all the chocolate you eat has wax in it to make it stiff? And how many of you know that virtually all wax comes from oil wells?

Gabriel said...

@Ron Winkleheimer:wikipedia says early transcribers left out the sexy parts.

Not even just that. They expurgated his wife's menstrual cramps, and the time that he and his wife had to go back in their house because William Penn had just dumped his chamber pot and the stink was unbearable.

I've been reading a lot of Dickens lately and in his early novels it was improper even to refer directly to pants. So you can imagine how much got cut out when they were transcribed by Victorians.

Kathy said...

Some of us homeschoolers are buying those books the libraries are removing. One group I'm in has posts daily where people share photos of their finds! And we also have group-sourced typing projects to transcribe public domain works and make them readily available on the web. So all is not bleak!

Todd said...

Jack Wayne said...
How many of you know that virtually all the chocolate you eat has wax in it to make it stiff? And how many of you know that virtually all wax comes from oil wells?

4/26/16, 5:34 PM


So that nice post chocolate swallow, "back of the throat" after-taste is dinosaur? Cool!