Cheap Books and Government Publications

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Cheap books! You can get them with a box of soap or a package of baking powder, and many of them are books which are considered among the world.s best literature. Remember, though, that these same books can often be bought at a regular book store for the amount of postage it costs to get them as "premiums." But these books are but poorly made and cheaply put together in paper covers. and so are hardly suitable for a school or public library. though they often do to make a beginning. Better books can be obtained in more substantial bindings at a remarkably low figure. Those published by A. L. Burt, of New York, stand preeminent. His Library of the World,s Best Books. containing the principal and more popular works of Spencer, Darwin, George Eliot and many other noted writers. may be had anywhere for $1 per volume. The Home Library. issued by the same publisher, contains many of the standard works of fiction, and retails at seventy-five cents per volume. A liberal discount is allowed on even these low figures if many volumes are purchased at once. Several other publishers issue similar series, which may also be purchased at very low figures.

Many of the reports issued by the various departments of the United States government are very valuable. These. however. are usually gotten up in such an unattractive style that ordinary readers do not willingly read them. In the hands of a person who is at all familiar with their contents. they may be made to do excellent service. The various circulars and reports of the department of agriculture and the bureau of education contain some of the most valuable material printed in their special lines. For general scientific work of a more technical character. the reports of the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum should be obtained. The reports of the bureau of ethnology will tell you all that you want to know about the Cliff Dwellers. Mound Builders. and other prehistoric races of our continent. “The Public Domain,“ issued some years ago by the public land commissioners. is very valuable for a book of reference in the school room or library. it contains a complete history of the domain of the United States. how it was acquired. and when, and much similar information. The reports of the various geological surveys are also of great service, though most of them are now hard to obtain. The reports of the census bureau, department of labor and some of the circulars of the treasury department should also be obtained. Many of these United States documents can be got free of charge. and most of the others fol‘ little above the cost of printing. The superintendent of documents. at Washington, issues a monthly catalogue of the government publications free of charge. By obtaining this and looking it carefully over, the librarian can see what documents have been issued which will interest his readers. and will find out how to obtain them.

Several of the reports of the state officers may also be put to good use. The reports of the commissioner of labor. bureau of agriculture, superintendent of public instruction. and the state engineer are among the more important. In short. a very valuable collection of books along certain lines of knowledge. may be had for the asking from the United States and the various state governments.

Source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, By Colorado. Dept. of Education