Thursday, 5 April 2012

The decommissioning of library books

Today I am having a day at work and really I could not have picked a better day. It's a little cold and a slightly miserable outside and the staff in the LRC are decommissioning books. Any book that has not been taken out of the past 12 years is being recycled or rescued and re-homed. I am not officially a member of the LRC but as a Drop in Support Centre Lecturer, I am based in the library and therefore have been invited to save any of the books I like the look of and there are quite a few.

I am rather fond of any book that comments on the history of domesticity in the home and have managed to pick up some real gems:

  • Laundry Work (Third edition printed in 1974)
  • Modern Home Laundry Work - the latest and completely revised edition which covers the thinking and methods in this field right up to the end of the 1960s
  • A Woman's work is never done - A history of housework in The British Isles 1650 - 1950
  • The Kitchen in history (Published in 1972)
  • Complete book of cleaning - which includes a whole chapter on the lazy's person guide to housework
  • Tacheometric Tables - Reprinted 1950

    I had to do a little sketch and take a few pictures. There is just something about old books. The print is different, the quality and texture of the paper is appealing. I love the sketches, the old photo plates and advertisements. The students for whom these books would have been bought will have lived their lives, established their careers and dreamt their dreams. Young people who attended Canterbury Technical College (as it was once known) would have had different aspirations to the students who I work with today but they would have still possessed that excitement about the future. I do wonder how many dreams were realised, what became of all those students who read these books that are now being recycled. In 1959 this college was organised into two departments: Building and Engineering  and Women's subjects.

    Domestic science is no longer one of the subjects available on Canterbury College's modern app, website and prospectus but it is something that I learnt at school. I did sewing, cooking, home economics (cooking and budgeting), woodwork, metal work, technical drawing and domestic science. During my education which has spanned from the 1970s to now, I feel that I have learnt a huge variety of subjects, some useful and some which are locked in a dusty cupboard at the back of my brain. And now I have a whole pile of old books full of stuff, I would never have even thought about........

    "They that wash on Monday have all the week to dry;
    They that wash on Tuesday are not so much awry;
    They that wash on Wednesday are not so much to blame;
    They that wash on Thursday wash for shame;
    They that wash on Friday wash in need;
    And they that wash on Saturday, Oh they're sluts indeed." -- Robert Hunt

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