Saturday, October 27, 2007

Old and Irrelevant

Today I was a substitute teacher at a local public school. When I passed by the library, I noticed a huge stack of books on a table outside the door with a sign that said "Free". The library was giving away books to make room for more up-to-date books. I suspect that, besides needing shelf space, the rather sour faced and politically correct new librarian has taken it upon herself to censor the students' reading.

Here are some of the books they were tossing out:

Harry Neal's The Mystery of Time. Harry Neal was a Christian, a scholar, and a former Assistant Chief of the U.S. Secret Service. This is one of the best books ever written on time and calendars. I wonder what current book was so important that it deserved to replace this classic?

Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. (I'm trying to think positively about this. Perhaps this was a duplicate copy?)

Issac Asimov On Numbers, a volume containing his best essays on infinity, the importance of zero and the story of pi. I could forgive the library staff if it had left Tobias Dantzig's Number: The Language of Science on the shelves, but no! (That volumne is now mine also.) Albert Einstein regarded Dantzig's book as "beyond doubt the most interesting book on the evolution of mathematics" that he had ever read.

They tossed out Edward P. Clancy's supurb book The Tides: Pulse of the Earth. Dr. Clancy was a well known physicist and Chairman of the Physics Department at Mount Holyoke College.

Sir Fred Hoyle's marvelous little volume On Stonehenge and Chester Starr's Early Man: Prehistory and the Civilizations of the Ancient Near East were also deemed to be no longer relevant.

I feel old and irrelevant myself after seeing that stack, but my personal library is greatly enhanced.

No comments: