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durable binding. Cheap and poor editions wear out quickly, and have to be thrown away for better ones, which wise economy should have selected in the first place. For example, a widely circulated edition of Scott's novels, found in most libraries, has the type so worn and battered by the many large editions printed from the plates, that many letters and words are wanting, thus spoiling not only the pleasure but abridging the profit of the reader in perusing the novels. The same is true of one edition of Cooper. Then there are many cheap reprints of English novels in the Seaside and other libraries which abound in typographical errors. A close examination of a cheap edition of a leading English novelist's works revealed more than 3,000 typographical errors in the one set of books! It would be unpardonable carelessness to buy such books for general reading because they are cheap.

Librarians should avoid what are known as subscription books, as a rule, though some valid exceptions exist. Most of such books are profusely illustrated and in gaudy bindings, gotten up to dazzle the eye. If works of merit, it is better to wait for them, than to subscribe for an unfinished work, which perhaps may never reach completion.

A librarian or book collector should be ever observant of what he may find to enrich his collection. When in a book-store, or a private or public library, he should make notes of such works seen as are new to him, with any

characteristics which their custodian may remark upon. Such personal examination is more informing than any catalogue.

I think each public library should possess, besides a complete set of the English translations of the Greek and Latin classics, a full set of the originals, for the benefit of scholarly readers. These classic texts can be had complete in modern editions for a very moderate price.

How far duplicate volumes should be bought should depend upon demand, and the views of the purchasing powers. There is a real need of more than one copy of almost every standard work, else it will be perpetually out, giving occasion for numerous complaints from those who use the library. It would be a good rule to keep one copy always in, and at the service of readers, of every leading history, standard poet, or popular novel. Then the duplicate copies for circulation may be one or more, as experience and ability to provide may determine. A library which caters to the novel-reading habit as extensively as the New York Mercantile (a subscription library) has to buy fifty to one hundred copies of “Trilby,for example, to keep up with the demand. No such obligation exists for the free public libraries. They, however, often buy half a dozen to a dozen copies of a very popular story, when new, and sell them out after the demand has slackened or

died away

The methods of selection and purchase in public libraries are very various. In the Worcester (Mass.) Public Library, the librarian makes a list of desiderata, has it manifolded, and sends a copy to each of the thirteen members of the Board of directors. This list is reported on by the members at the next monthly meeting of the Board, and generally, in the main, approved. Novels and stories are not bought until time has shown of what value they may be. The aim is mainly educational at the Worcester library, very special pains being taken to aid all the pupils and teachers in the public schools, by careful selection, and providing duplicate or more copies of important works.

In the Public Library of Cleveland, Ohio, there is appointed out of the governing Board a book-committee of three. To one of these are referred English books wanted, to another French, and to the third German books. This sub-committee approves or amends the Librarian's recommendations, at its discretion; but expensive works are referred to the whole board for determination.

In the New York Mercantile Library, which must keep continually up to date in its supply of new books, the announcements in all the morning papers are daily scanned, and books just out secured by immediate order. Many publishers send in books on approval, which are frequently bought. An agent in London is required to send on the day of publication all new books on certain subjects.

The library boards of management meet weekly in New York and Philadelphia, but monthly in most country libraries. The selection of books made by committees introduces often an element of chance, not quite favorable to the unity of plan in developing the resources of the library. But with a librarian of large information, discretion, and skill, there need seldom be any difficulty in securing approval of his selections, or of most of them. In some libraries the librarian is authorized to buy at discretion additions of books in certain lines, to be reported at the next meeting of the board; and to fill up all deficiencies in periodicals that are taken. This is an important concession to his judgment, made in the interest of completeness in the library, saving a delay of days and sometimes weeks in waiting for the board of directors.

All orders sent out for accessions should previously be compared with the alphabeted order-card list, as well as with the general catalogue of the library, to avoid duplication. After this the titles are to be incorporated in the alphabet of all outstanding orders, to be withdrawn only on receipt of the books.

The library should invite suggestions from all frequenting it, of books recommended and not found in the collection. A blank record-book for this purpose, or an equivalent in order-cards, should be always kept on the counter of the library.



The buying of books is to some men a pastime; to others it is a passion; but to the librarian and the intelligent book collector it is both a business and a pleasure. The man who is endowed with a zeal for knowledge is eager to be continually adding to the stores which will enable him to acquire and to dispense that knowledge. Hence the perusal of catalogues is to him an ever fresh and fascinating pursuit. However hampered he may be by the lack of funds, the zest of being continually in quest of some coveted volumes gives him an interest in every sale catalogue, whether of bookseller or of auctioneer. He is led on by the perennial hope that he may find one or more of the long-wished for and waited for desiderata in the thin pamphlet whose solid columns bristle with book-titles in every variety of abbreviation and arrangement. It is a good plan, if one can possibly command the time, to read every catalogue of the book auctions, and of the secondhand book dealers, which comes to hand. You will thus find a world of books chronicled and offered which you do not want, because you have got them already: you will find many, also, which you want, but which you know you cannot have; and you may find some of the very volumes which you have sought through many years in vain. In any case, you will have acquired valuable informationwhether you acquire any books or not; since there is hardly a priced catalogue, of any considerable extent, from which you cannot reap knowledge of some kind-knowledge of editions, knowledge of prices, and knowledge of the comparative scarcity or full supply of many books, with a glimpse of titles which you may never have met before. The value of the study of catalogues as an education in bibliography can never be over-estimated.

The large number of active and discriminating bookbuyers from America has for years past awakened the interest and jealousy of collectors abroad, where it has very largely enhanced the price of all first-class editions, and rare works.

No longer, as in the early days of Dibdin and Heber, is the competition for the curiosities of old English literature confined to a half-score of native amateurs. True, we have no such omnivorous gatherers of literary rubbish as that magnificent helluo librorum, Richard Heber, who amassed what was claimed to be the largest collection of books ever formed by a single individual. Endowed with a princely fortune, and an undying passion for the possession of books, he spent nearly a million dollars in their acquisition. His library, variously stated at from 105,000 volumes (by Dr. Dibdin) to 146,000 volumes (by Dr. Allibone) was brought to the hammer in 1834. The catalogue filled 13 octavo volumes, and the sale occupied 216 days. The insatiable owner (who was a brother of Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta) died while still collecting, at the age of sixty, leaving his enormous library, which no single house of ordinary size could hold, scattered in half a dozen mansions in London, Oxford, Paris, Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent.

Yet the owner of this vast mass of mingled nonsense and erudition, this library of the curiosities of literature, was as generous in imparting as in acquiring his literary treas

No English scholar but was freely welcome to the loan of his volumes; and his own taste and critical knowledge are said to have been of the first order.


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