Did you know that K-State Libraries has been a depository library since 1907? And what, you might ask, is a depository library? The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by Congress in the 1800s to ensure the public’s access to information about government activities. More than 1,200 U.S. libraries currently participate in the program, eighteen of which are scattered throughout Kansas in private and public colleges and universities as well as in public libraries.
As a participant, K-State receives publications—books, magazines, pamphlets, maps, and more—for free, from the Government Printing Office (GPO), which we agree to make available to the public. Most of K-State’s print government documents collection is located in Stack F; maps and microforms are stored in the white metal cabinets on the third floor. More and more government documents are available electronically and can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection.
One way to determine if your OPAC search results include government publications is to check the Location field for any inclusion of the word government. Another clue will be the call number. Unlike most of the Libraries resources, government resources do not use the Library of Congress Classification (LC) system, but are organized by SuDoc (Superintendent of Documents) numbers—we’ll talk about that in another post.
A SuDoc number for a government agriculture resource might look like this:
But an LC call number for a non-government agriculture resource might look more like this:
S441 .J247 2010
It can get a little confusing, but just remember, help is never far away. Every depository library appoints a coordinator whose responsibilities include helping users locate government documents. K-State’s coordinator is Regina Beard (email@example.com). Give her a shout if you need some help. And, of course, you can always Ask a librarian!
Keeping America Informed. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1999, Print. Government Printing Office, About GPO, access December 22, 2011.