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´╗┐Title: Government Documents in Small Libraries - Reprinted from Report of Board of Library Commissioners - of Ohio for the Year ending November 15, 1909.
Author: Reeder, Charles Wells, 1884-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Government Documents in Small Libraries - Reprinted from Report of Board of Library Commissioners - of Ohio for the Year ending November 15, 1909." ***

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    Government Documents
    in
    Small Libraries


    Government Documents
    in
    Small Libraries
    BY
    CHARLES WELLS REEDER

    Reprinted from Report of Board of Library Commissioners of Ohio for the
    year ending November 15, 1909.

    The Springfield Publishing Company,
    State Printers.
    Springfield, Ohio:
    1910.



Government Documents in Small Libraries

_By CHARLES WELLS REEDER,
Assistant Reference Librarian,
Ohio State University._

[Substance of an address before a meeting of librarians held under the
auspices of the Library Organizer of the Ohio Library Commission, Ohio
State University, October 8, 1909.]

The problem of government publications in the small libraries has been
discussed at much length by librarians, but it is still far from a
definite solution. In fact, there can be no general settlement of many
phases of this question, for each and every library must decide what
its own policy and attitude shall be toward this class of publications.

It is generally admitted that some libraries ought to have all the
publications that are made for distribution, and therefore a system of
depository libraries is maintained by the government. The libraries
which are not favored with this privilege are compelled to make a
selection from the great number of documents and there is the essence
of the problem for discussion here. The question of what to get
involves the selection of certain publications which will be useful to
present patrons of the library and the acquisition of those for which a
demand can be created. For instance, if the library is located in a
rural section, there will be a big demand for publications relating to
agriculture, and a larger proportion of such documents will be secured
than for other subjects. If the students of the high school are
interested in debating present day questions, the publications of the
government relating to the existing political and economic conditions
will be in demand. In the final analysis, the librarian must feel the
pulse of the community, as it were, and secure the classes of
government material which correspond most nearly to the demand. At the
same time, by making use of bibliographies, of department lists of
publications and of the reference section in the Documents Office, the
demand for this class of literature can be materially increased and
documents secured which are not already in the library.

The purpose of this discussion is to suggest a list of government
publications which will be of use in a small library. Before doing so,
the various methods of securing documents must be mentioned, as the way
will be indicated with each document serial in the following list.
First of all, there is the system of depository distribution which is
based on the act of January 12, 1895. The idea is to place in all
sections of the country complete collections of all public documents
which are printed and made for distribution. This privilege is granted
by law or through the request of senators and representatives. The
second way in which large numbers of documents are distributed is
through the congressional quota. This practice is a very old one, being
used for the first time in 1791. Each member of Congress is given a
quota of all documents published by that body, the number varying with
each document. These are distributed by the order of the congressmen
and are sent out under their franks. As a rule, the libraries will
receive very prompt and courteous attention from their representative
in Congress to any request made for publications. Thirdly, the
departments and bureaus have mailing lists including public officials,
institutions of various kinds and interested people. Usually a request
by a library to be placed upon such a list is granted; if not, a letter
to the congressman will bring the desired result. Finally, the
Superintendent of Documents is authorized to sell the government
publications at a price sufficient to cover the actual expense of
paper, press work and binding. The amount is always small because the
main costs of typesetting and stereotyping are eliminated from the
price. There are some publications which are secured by sale only, this
rule applying to libraries as well as to individuals.

The list of publications which will be useful is as follows: The
_Farmers' Bulletins_ of the Department of Agriculture are brief popular
articles which give in simple, concise language the results of
investigations and experiments. They also outline methods for farm
procedure and offer instructions and suggestions for the practical
farmer. The annual edition of these bulletins is over six and one half
million copies. By law eighty per cent. of these are placed at the
disposal of the members of Congress, the remaining twenty per cent.
being in the hands of the Secretary of Agriculture. Libraries will be
placed on the mailing list, or single copies will be sent on
application to a senator, representative or delegate, or to the
secretary of the department. An _Index to Farmers' Bulletins 1-250_ was
issued as _Bulletin 8_ of the Division of Publications, Department of
Agriculture; _Circular No. 4_ of this Division is a _Farmers' Bulletin
Subject Index_, and contains a list of the subjects of the _Bulletins_
arranged alphabetically. It is revised at frequent intervals. The
Library of Congress issues printed cards for the _Farmers' Bulletins_.

The _Yearbook_ of the Department of Agriculture is virtually an annual
encyclopedia of popular, timely articles on special topics covering the
year's work of the Department and the year's progress in agriculture.
The law provides for an edition of 500,000 copies, but under the new
system of public printing, the actual number issued is 300,000. The
Department has 30,000 and the remainder is placed at the order of the
members of Congress. Applications to either source will be filled, but
requests had better be sent to the congressmen first. Two indexes to
the _Yearbook_ have been prepared: _Bulletin 7_, Division of
Publications covers the annual volumes for the period, 1894-1900, and
_Bulletin 9_ of the same Division, the years 1901-1905. Catalog cards
for all the articles can be secured from the Library of Congress.

The Division of Publications, Department of Agriculture, issues
_Circular No. 2_, _Publications for Free Distribution_, which gives the
titles of such publications. They are sent free as long as the edition
lasts, application being made to the Secretary of Agriculture.
_Circular No. 3_ is _Publications for Sale_. These can be purchased
from the Superintendent of Documents, the remittances being sent by
postal money orders, express orders, New York draft, or in currency,
but never in stamps. There is also a _Monthly List of Publications_
issued by the Department of Agriculture, which will be sent to any
library free. Through these three lists a librarian can keep in touch
with the publications of the most active publishing department of the
government and secure the latest available information for the library
patrons.

The _Annual Report_ of the American Historical Association is devoted
to papers by historians of national fame, to reports of the Public
Archives Commission, and to the publication of historical
bibliographical enterprises. For the students of American history no
one set of government documents can be more valuable. The edition is
rather limited, the law providing for 5,500 copies. As the Smithsonian
Institution has so many exchanges, these reports are best secured from
the quota allowed to Congressmen.

The International Bureau of American Republics is not essentially a
United States government bureau, but one in which twenty-one of the
republics of the Western Hemisphere have an interest. The _Monthly
Bulletin_ is printed in four languages--English, Spanish, Portuguese
and French. It contains the latest information on the commerce, laws,
new enterprises and general development of each republic. It is
essentially a magazine of Central and South American events. This
Bulletin cannot be obtained free, as the bureau sells nearly all its
publications. The subscription price for the English edition is $2.00
per year. A small library does not need the foreign edition.
Communications should be addressed to the Director of the Bureau.

No library can afford to be without the publications of the Bureau of
the Census. The volumes of the decennial censuses contain the
statistical records of the nation's growth and development. If the full
set of reports is not wanted, by all means the _Abstract_ should be
secured, as it contains the summaries. The series of _Bulletins_ issued
by the permanent bureau contains the recent statistics, estimates, and
are the source for much of the data found in the annual newspaper
almanacs. These publications are supplied free of charge to libraries
upon application to the Director of the Census or to members of
Congress. The Department of Commerce and Labor has issued a _List of
Publications_ ... _available for distribution_; the Bureau has also
issued _Publications Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Censuses and Permanent
Bureau_. The publications no longer available are marked with an
asterisk.

The _Annual Reports_ of the Civil Service Commission contain the data
on the historical and statistical growth of the classified government
service, the number and character of examinations, the appointments to
service, the rules covering civil service appointment and the legal
decisions of the Commission. The Commission has twenty thousand copies
of its annual report for distribution, applications for it being made
directly to the Commission. The _Manual of Examinations_ is issued
January 1st and July 1st of each year, and give the date, place,
character and scope of scheduled examinations. It will be found
indispensable for those desiring to enter the government service. It
will be furnished gratuitously by the Commission.

The _Congressional Directory_ is issued in three editions for a long
session, and in two for a short one. It contains the essential facts
necessary for a valuable reference book on the government. There are
biographical sketches of each senator, representative and delegate in
Congress; committee arrangements are given for all members; officials
and attaches of both houses are listed; biographical sketches are given
for the heads of the executive departments; there is a roster of the
chief officers in each department and in the consular and diplomatic
service; finally, there is a brief outline of the official duties of
each department, bureau and division in the government. The number
issued is determined by the Joint Committee on Printing, but inasmuch
as the _Directory_ is issued as a Senate document, it can be secured by
application to a member in Congress. If not supplied in this way, it
can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents. The last edition
is the one to be secured.

The _Congressional Record_ is published daily when Congress is in
session and in a collected edition when the session is over. It is a
verbatim report of all that takes place in Congress, and ought to be
placed with the daily papers in a library. An _Index_ is prepared every
two weeks and one for the entire session. Besides the references to the
bills, the index contains a history of each measure and the number of
each committee report and document presented. Each senator has ninety
copies and each representative and delegate has sixty-two copies.
Librarians should make application to their congressmen for the
_Record_ at the beginning of each session of Congress, as new mailing
lists are made out at that time.

The _Annual Reports_ of the Bureau of Education are devoted to
statistics concerning the educational system of the United States.
There are also discussions and papers on important educational
movements in other countries. The law provides for an edition of 35,000
copies, 20,000 of which are distributed by the Bureau. The reports from
1867 to 1898 are indexed in _A. L. A. Index_, 2d ed. Since 1906 much of
the descriptive material in the annual reports has been eliminated and
published as _Bulletins_. These contain many late monographs of
importance and the results of study of new problems in education.
Bulletin 2, 1908, is a _List of Publications ... 1867-1907_. The annual
bibliography of education which has been issued for the past eight
years in the Educational Review is now printed as a _Bulletin_ of the
Bureau of Education.

The _Experiment Station Record_, a publication of the Office of
Experiment Stations, gives a technical review of the current literature
of agricultural investigation, not only in the United States, but also
throughout the whole world. It reviews books and annual reports of
governments and the agricultural experiment stations in the various
states and about 1,600 periodicals in twelve or more languages. The
Office maintains a mailing list, and application for publications
should be directed to the Director. The _Record_ is also sold by the
Superintendent of Documents at $1.00 per volume, beginning with July,
1909. Previous volumes are $1.50.

The _Annual Reports_ of the Interstate Commerce Commission cover both
the administrative and the quasi-judicial proceedings of the
Commission. In its administrative features the report presents railroad
statistics, discusses the uniform methods of accounting, and summarizes
the results of enforcing the safety appliance laws, the hours of
service act and the accidents law. Important decisions made during the
year by the Commission and by United States Courts are reviewed. The
reports are furnished gratuitously by the Commission to those who
apply. Another valuable serial is the report on the _Statistics of
Railways in the United States_. It is prepared according to schedules,
and covers the mileage, the amount of railway capital, the earnings and
income, the general expenditures and the accidents. This volume is also
distributed free by the Commission.

The Bureau of Labor issues three serials which ought to be found in
every library. The _Annual Reports_ contain the results of
investigations which the Bureau has made on industrial and social
subjects. The _Special Reports_ are on particular subjects, and are
prepared as requested by the President of the United States or by
either house of Congress. The _Bulletin_ is issued bi-monthly, and
contains the latest information on subjects within the wide field of
labor and not included in the other reports. The _Annual Reports_ and
_Bulletins_ up to 1898 are indexed in the _A. L. A. Index_, 2d ed. The
Bureau issued an _Index_ in 1902 which covers _Annual Reports_ 1-16,
_Bulletins_ 1-39 and _Special Reports_ 1-9. Application for these
publications are best made to the Bureau and handled from its mailing
list.

The most useful publication of the Library of Congress in a small
library is the series of bibliographies compiled in the Division of
Bibliography. They vary in size from approximately complete
bibliographies to small reading lists on questions of current interest.
Inasmuch as they are based on the largest collection of library
materials in the United States, the bibliographies give an idea of
existing references and sources which might not be suggested or even
known in smaller institutions. Through library loans and the judicious
writing for sources, the small library can supply liberal materials for
study from these bibliographies. As to the distribution of these
publications, the Library of Congress makes this statement: "With
certain exceptions, the publications are not distributed gratis, except
to institutions with which the library regularly exchanges." At any
event, they can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents for
from ten to fifteen cents. The complete list of these bibliographies is
published in the _List of Publications Issued Since 1897_ (by the
Library of Congress).

The _Daily Consular and Trade Reports_ are issued from the Bureau of
Manufactures. These are a collection of reports made by United States
consuls in all parts of the world on matters of commercial and current
importance, such as new inventions, crops, market possibilities and
commercial relations in general. The Bureau will add a library to its
mailing list upon application.

The Bureau of Statistics of the Department of Commerce and Labor issue
two serials which are of use in small libraries. The _Monthly Summary
of Commerce and Finance_ is the leading statistical publication of the
government. It gives a very complete and detailed statistical account
of the foreign commerce of the United States, the internal commerce and
the commerce with the non-contiguous possessions. The _Statistical
Abstract_ covers, in summarized form, most of the important subjects in
the wide field of government activity, and easily ranks as "the most
useful summary of statistics relating to our country that is printed."
The edition is limited to twelve thousand copies--three thousand to the
Senate, six thousand to the House, and the remainder to the Bureau.
Application for both serials can be made directly to the Bureau, and
especially for the _Monthly Summary_.

In conclusion, the librarian that intends to be alive to his
opportunity with government documents will get the _Annual Reports_ of
the Superintendent of Documents for 1907 and 1908 and commit them to
heart. They contain the best explanation of the present plan of
distribution and other problems with these publications that has been
written. The library should receive the series of _Price Lists_ and
_Leaflets_ now being issued by the Documents Office. The one is
virtually a bibliography of some important subjects which the documents
cover; the other is a description of some one document or some class of
more than passing interest. Both show what can be purchased and the
price of the publication. If the library has not received copies of
_Free Lists Nos. 1 to 3_, they should be sent for. They contain a list
of the documents which are offered free of all charge to libraries.
Many rare and useful publications can be secured in this way. Finally,
if possible, subscribe for the _Monthly Catalog of Public Documents_,
which keeps the reading public informed as to what is now being
published by the government, how and where the publications can be
obtained and the purchase price.





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