One of my great joys in working in a Congressional office was the delivery of a lot of the publications that were available through the GPO, the General Printing Office. Not just Congressional hearings and dull reports, but some excellent volumes on a wide variety of topics — back when America was exceptional (before the Republicans started claiming God made America exceptional, and not hard work by Americans), most Congressional offices kept a list of people who wanted the annual Department of Agriculture farming bulletin. It was a sort of compendium of state-of-the-art practices, predictions on soils conditions and weather, and an encyclopedia of what the government could do to help farmers out (mostly a list of county agriculture extension agents).
A lot of this activity reflected the Roosevelt-Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy-Johnson view that government should serve the people, and good information was like diamonds.
Those days are gone
GPO still publishes some great stuff, though.
Got a note in e-mail that GPO is having a clearance/overstock sale. As an example, this Junior Ranger workbook on the Underground Railroad — reduced to $3.00 from $6.00. Ages 5 to 12, or kindergarten to 7th grade.
Need some supplements for your elementary or middle school classrooms? Want just one to steal ideas from?
Publisher: Interior Dept., National Park Service, Southeast Region
Description: Provides activities for children ages 5-12 to learn about the history of the underground railroad and the Emancipation Proclamation. Children who finish the age-appropriate activities can send in to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program to receive a free Junior Ranger badge from the National Park Service. Gently covers topics including: the meaning of freedom and slavery; the hardships and daily life of slaves; the importance and travel routes of the “Underground Railroad;” safe refuge choices; key dates and laws relating to slavery and emancipation; and key figures including Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and abolitionists Levi and Catharine Coffin, among others.
Year/Pages: 2011: 20 p.; ill.
Price: $6.00 $3.00
Of course there are a lot of other books on sale; go see.
(Oh, and a nasty little secret? The material on the Underground Railroad is in the public domain, and the booklet is available in a .pdf version, online, for free.)
Among books on sale you might find of interest:
- Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction, September 19, 2011 (OMB)
- Ronald Reagan, Intelligence and the End of the Cold War: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California, November 2, 2011
- Official Congressional Directory, 112th Congress, 2011-2012 (Hardcover)
- Neptune’s Table: A View of America’s Ocean Fisheries (NOAA)
- Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2010 (Paperback) (Commerce Department, Census Bureau) — this publication is also available on-line
- President Obama’s Inaugural Ceremony Available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (whattheythink.com)
- Where Was the 1st Underground Railroad? (theroot.com)
- Uncovering the Truth About the Underground Railroad (blogs.wsj.com)