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2014 January 14

Silly library labels

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:15
Tags: , , , ,

As a school librarian, my wife often gets library supply catalogs (and orders from them). I was particularly struck by an offer in the latest Demco catalog:

The "modern genre labels" from Demco.

The “modern genre labels” from Demco, copied from

The first thing that struck me is that using the myth of the horned Viking helmet as an icon for history was not very respectful of the scholarship of historians.

Sorry about the low quality of this image—I zoomed in on the gif from Demco, as I did not have an original sticker to scan instead.

Sorry about the low quality of this image—I zoomed in on the gif from Demco, as I did not have an original sticker to scan instead.

The second thing that struck me was that the “modern” label for science fiction was similar to the labels used in the 1960s. I think I remember that fat rockets were used on spine labels in the 50s, but I couldn’t find an example on the web quickly. In any case, these labels would be better described as “retro” not “modern”.

If you look more closely, you’ll see that the artist made the “star-in-front-of-the-moon” mistake—probably deliberately to irritate science fiction readers.

Image copied (without permission) from

Old spine labels for science fiction. Image copied (without permission) from (more precisely from

The final straw was the e-book sticker. What exactly do you stick an e-book spine sticker to?


  1. Ebook sticker. That is a good one.

    Comment by Garth — 2014 January 14 @ 11:46 | Reply

  2. That was exactly my question! D you stick it on the paper copy so people in the library know they could check out an e copy instead?

    Comment by Jana — 2014 February 15 @ 08:12 | Reply

  3. Or maybe you make a fake book and put it on the shelf to represent that an ebook exists?

    Comment by Jana — 2014 February 15 @ 08:13 | Reply

    • That may be the intention, but the notion of a spine label for e-books is rather amusing nonetheless.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2014 February 15 @ 13:24 | Reply

  4. Just bought a few used library books, and a few of them still have spine stickers:

    I just love the slender rocket passing in front of Saturn :)

    These are from the US Army Library (Monteith Barracks APO 09068), they donated them to the Hungarian Police Museum (Budapest, Hungary) possibly during the Nineties. The museum scrapped and put on sale a large part of its collection recently.

    Comment by scanzen — 2016 April 7 @ 05:07 | Reply

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