And the Winner Is…..


Recognizing Excellence!

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.

Recognizing Excellence?

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S=  Superseded (by a truly new edition or by a much better book on the subject)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:

2009 MUSTIE Award Winner








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


3 Responses to “And the Winner Is…..”

  1. Donna Baumbach Says:

    LOVE IT! Reminds me of “Things We’ve Dug Up While Weeding” at

    There’s some AWFUL stuff out there…Linda Miller and I decided NOT to update Less Is More (ALA) because we felt that with the current economy, library media specialists will take whatever $$ they have and spend on titles for students, not professional titles…and that they’d be less likely to weed. Actually, I guess the economy is just one more bad excuse for not weeding!

    Good luck in your new media center. Sounds like it will be challenging!

  2. Cathy Nelson Says:

    Absolutely love the creative take on this post. What a treasure for sure, definitely worthy of this recognition.

  3. Heather Loy Says:

    Great example for the need to weed! Thanks for sharing!

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