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Promotion of Federal Documents

Page history last edited by Bruce Sarjeant 12 years, 4 months ago

One of the most important things you can do as a depository librarian is promote your collection to ensure the public is aware of its existence. There are many different ways to promote your collection. Here are some ideas:

1.       If your library is going to have a significant anniversary (25th, 50th, 100th etc.) then having an anniversary celebration is a great way to promote the collection.  The University of California Berkley has a wonderful website: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/doemoff/govinfo/federal/fdlpexhibit/index.html  that celebrates 125 years as a depository library. The University of Michigan held a wonderful celebration this year with Cindy Etkin from GPO and Martha Sneed from the Patent and Trademark Office attending to present the library with a certificate. John Dingell was one of the speakers at this celebration. Grace York will be able to tell you all about it. Checkout GPO’s anniversary celebration page at http://www.fdlp.gov/outreach/events/depositoryanniversaries for more ideas.


2.       If your library has an important collection which the government documents collection supplements, piggyback on any promotion of that collection the library does. For example, if your library has a genealogy collection for which the genealogy librarians provide training, ask those librarians to give you time during their training to talk about how the government documents collection is a resource genealogists need to know about. The following guide http://www.odl.state.ok.us/usinfo/GenealogicalResources.pdf is an excellent resource for government documents that are useful to genealogists. The FDLP desktop has the following resources available http://www.fdlp.gov/home/repository/search_result ; this includes a bibliography by Carole Callard, former genealogy librarian at the Library of Michigan. Type genealogy in the search box.


3.       The 2010 census is a perfect opportunity to let the public know that your library is a depository library. Census statistics are used by businesses and local government officials for a variety of purposes. Put together a packet of census information about your community and take copies of it to a Chamber of Commerce meeting. Ask them for a few minutes to talk about what the library has to offer them.  You can even do a demonstration of American Factfinder for them.


4.       If you aren’t cataloging your government publications, this is probably one of the most important things you can do to promote your collection. The Public Libraries of Saginaw wrote a grant to catalog the backlog of documents (100 years worth) in 1993. After receiving the grant, the staff worked diligently at cataloging this collection. Currently every document the library owns is in the OPAC so the public knows they are there. If Saginaw Public can do this, then so can you!


5.       Order some of the promotional materials available from the FDLP desktop. Have them available to hand out any programming the library does. This is especially important for any programming you may do during National Library Week. The depository collection is a part of the library collection and you should make sure people are aware of it when you a celebrating the library as a whole.

6.       One form of promotion and outreach for academic library liaisions is to pull out new documents for faculty.  4 times a month (every 9 days and at the start of the following month), look at the Catalog of Government Publications and search for new electronic publications that would fall under your liaison responsibilities. Under the CGP expert search, type in the year, month, and date range. For example, the first 9 days of December 2011 would look like this: 2011120*.  The year, 2011, followed by the month, 12, and then the nine days at the front of the month, 0*.  The asterisk is the wildcard that takes into account the 1st through the 9th. For the next nine days, the entry will look like 2011121*, which looks for new pubs uploaded from the 11th through the 19th. There will be several hundred entries, the default order being alphabetical by date.  Then look through them, not only picking out the ones that your departments will be interested in, but in my case, also for a rotating document image on the NMU documents webpage. I also check the item number of any publication of note: if our library does not have that number in our selection profile, I'll copy the MARC record and have the publication added to our catalog.  At the start of the following month, after compiling the list of new arrivals (I also look at the new tangible arrivals as well and make note of any of those), I simply send out the lists of these new arrivals to the faculty.  Some faculty email back with a thanks, or weeks later I might get a question completely unrelated to the new documents, but the subject line is RE: New Documents, December 2011.  Besides the notification, it's also a way to keep my foot in the door.

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