The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences bestows the Grammys (short for Gramophone), the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League recognize achievement with Tony Awards, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes excellence with Oscar winners.
Excellence in literature is recognized with myriad awards. There is the Pulitzer Prize for newspaper journalism and literature, the Edgar given by the Mystery Writers of America, and the Newbery Medal given by the Association of Library Service to Children just to name a few.
Then there are the awards that no one wants to win or awards won for negative reasons. There’s the FBI’s Tne Most Wanted Fugitives list, Mr. Blackwell’s Top Ten Worst Dressed Women list which acknowledged* celebrities’ fashion faux pas, and the English Department at San Jose University’s Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest that encourages bad writing (recognizing “winners” and dishonorable mentions for the opening sentence to the worst possible novel).
The MUSTIE Award
Librarians and school library media specialists are charged with developing their library’s collection. The obvious way to do this is by purchasing materials which will meet the needs of the library’s users. But the not so obvious way is to pull and dispose of materials which are no longer meeting the users’ needs.
Librarians have been known to pull and dispose of these materials in the dark of night so as not to raise the ire of bibliophiles everywhere: “What?!!! Throw out books? Preposterous!” I propose a new award to add glamour to the fine art of weeding: the MUSTIE.
The term “MUSTIE” is defined by CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries in this manner:
M = Misleading (and/or factually inaccurate)
U= Ugly (worn and beyond mending or rebinding)
S= Superseded (by a truly new edition or by a much better book on the subject)
T= Trivial (of no discernable literary or scientific merit; usually of ephemeral interest at some time in the past)
I= Irrevelant to the needs and interests of your community
E= The material or information may be obtained expeditiously Elsewhere through interlibrary loan, reciprocal borrowing, or in electronic format
The 2009 Boiling Springs High School Library Media Center’s MUSTIE award goes to:
Arnold, Robert ,Harold Hill, and Aylmer Nichols. Modern Data Processing (Second Edition). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1972.
Although this book obviously was cutting edge for 1972, it now easily fits the MUSTIE criteria: misleading, ugly (although it could be mended), superseded, trivial, irrelevant, and up-to-date information can be found elsewhere.
Now, how to celebrate the book’s winning the MUSTIE Award? Keep it on display as an example of outdated material (keeping the bibliophiles happy), or send it on to book heaven? After all, it has earned a jewel in its crown there now!
*Richard Blackwell, fashion critic, died on Oct. 18, 2008