24 October 2010


During a visit to one library we were shown several rooms full of books that had been donated by American libraries. I was going to say "well-meaning" but deleted it. Going for the jugular instead.

I was embarrassed by what I saw. What a load of crap. Moldy books, dime-store romances falling apart, incomplete Worldbook sets from 1982, a coffee-stained Commodore 64 manual etc etc.

Are you kidding me? What consummate arrogance! That we think our trash would be someone else's treasure.

"Oh, they're just learning English so it doesn't matter."

It matters.

/end rant


  1. Yeah, that is excessively annoying, and one of the huge problems with some forms of "humanitarian aid." Where I was in Mexico, we had the same problem--only it was with piece of crap computers that didn't work. People erroneously think they're bringing "technology" (or in your case "literacy") to a place that desperately needs it, but really they're pawning their shit off to other people.

  2. If I weren't on vacation and posting from my phone, I would challenge you both to a rant off!

  3. A group of UP faculty and students went to a school in Tanzania and saw basically the same thing -- a room piled high with unusable books.