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marnixR
Post  Post subject: medicine books in the library  |  Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:53 pm
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i've just come back from the library, and happen to browse near the medicine part of the book racks
one book caught my eye, one about curing cancer - as i half expected, its subject on how to combat cancer using "natural" and "alternative" approaches
then i had a look at all the other medicine self-help books, and the majority are not really about proper medicine at all, but about some airy-fairy "how to live better", from diets to aromatherapy and nutritionist topics

why do libraries even classify this under medicine ? even as self-help it's highly dubious - whenever i see one of those alternative ways to beat cancer i have to think "Steve Jobs", and how the alternative approach did him a lot of harm rather than "self-help"

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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: medicine books in the library  |  Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:31 pm

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It's the same on Amazon, the amount of utter crap and woo in the Nonfiction or *shudder* science sections is a tad annoying...

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: medicine books in the library  |  Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:44 pm
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The logical thing to do would be to put these texts beside the medicine section. Their content is, after only, only medicine adjacent.

To the core question, their placement is a mixture of ignorance from the people doing the sorting, and also the fact that those people likely classify the category of "medicine" as anything related to health and the human body (whether or not the content within the text helps or hurts health and the human body).

In a similar fashion, you'd probably find books about the wonders of trickle down fiscal approaches and austerity in the economics section were you to seek them, and they equally have no business whatsoever being there.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: medicine books in the library  |  Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:45 pm
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I have had similar experiences at (free) local libraries - perhaps it is a result of the absolute lack of actual medical texts?

The local councils and librarians probably don't know what constitutes a decent reading list for Medicine. But books on faith healing BS are cheap and, sadly, I doubt if you'd find many local residents actually wanting to read Martini's Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: medicine books in the library  |  Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:57 pm
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still, people in libraries aren't stupid enough to place astrology amongst the astronomy books
it's not like there's no good medicine-related books for the general public : if you don't want to take Gray's Anatomy home, then there's interesting books like "Microbes and Man" (John Postgate) or "On Darwinian Medicine" (Randolph Nesse & George Williams) + there's medicine encyclopediae for the home

maybe not everybody's cup of tea, but at least better than the make belief that "alternative" medicine equates to real medicine - a library should try and educate the public, not mislead them

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: medicine books in the library  |  Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:16 pm
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Agree with you entirely. My only point, is that libraries have probably come to be in their current state, by stacking the shelves with books that customers are likely or willing to check out with.

It takes a certain level of education before a reader's taste changes from absolute drivel to meaningful narrative.

Catch22: if the person has left high school and not learned how to think independently, there is no way they are going to access that advice from the library shelf. It won't be available to select because the customer's predecessors have set the tone.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: medicine books in the library  |  Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:00 pm
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I've been thinking that perhaps there ought to be a national quality standard for public literature - i.e. that all freely accessible local libraries ought to make available a selection of universal texts. The reading list could be decided by representatives from academia - luminaries in their respective fields. This selection could complement an 'open' but distinct section given over to the whim of the local populace.

In fact, I think this is a really important issue, thanks for introducing it marnix.

As an example from personal experience, I did not really begin reading beyond the textbook until sixth form. All throughout high school I was a slave to the textbook, remembering and understanding, but not really thinking or questioning. I think this was due largely to lack of access to resources. There was no guidance provided from teachers re. recommended reading beyond the textbook.

How many students today are in the same position - interested in Science but absolutely unguided in terms of enrichment?

We need to move away from vaguely encouraging everybody to read more - to actually providing access to quality reading material. At the moment, reading is treated as if the mechanical decoding of words on a page is what matters - rather than the capacity to cultivate meaningful and insightful thoughts and questions.

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