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Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program

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Cumulative Table of Contents Vol. 1 - present [ PDF ] ( includes current issue )

June 15, 2003

GP 3.16/3-2:24/07
(Vol. 24, no. 07)

Readers Exchange

Opportunistic Promotion for Documents
Lisa A. Ennis, Documents Coordinator
Austin Peay State University

Government Documents is one of the most misunderstood areas in libraries. Publications come in a variety of formats, are organized using a different classification scheme, have special rules for processing and organization, and non-documents librarians tend to avoid them, which is a real shame considering the value and scope of government publications. So, the question becomes what can we do as Documents Librarians to help others better understand the value and importance of the collection?

Well, over the past year I have seen first hand the impact proactive library promotion and outreach can have. Kimberley Barker, the Coordinator of Promotions and Programs at Georgia College & State University, built a systematic outreach program that has increased the libraryís visibility on campus, resulting in a higher gate count, higher reference statistics, and an increase in instruction requests. Now, here is the thing, Iím not very good at heading up the kind of events Kimberley creates, but what I could do was piggy back on her events.

For instance, Kimberley organizes events surrounding themes and highlights items from the collection that match the eventís theme. One such event is "Your Library Loves You Day" in February. She sets up a table somewhere on campus and we give away pencils, copy cards, and have hot chocolate --- the students love it! All I have to do is ask if I can put up a Documents flyer and pull an item or two from the Documents collection for the display. Kimberley also organized a monthly rotation for "Staff Picks" --- when it came to my month I highlighted the Department of Defense materials.

From my experience with Kimberley and her outreach efforts, Iíve started to keep an eye out for other opportunities to piggy pack on projects. For instance, our Serials Librarian, Donna Bennett, organized our subscription to Serials Solutions <www.serialssolutions.com).

which creates an alphabetical list of the libraryís journal holdings in both print and electronic formats. Presently, the documents serials kept in the Gov Docs area are not included in that list --- but they certainly can be! Serials Solutions will allow for the Journal Locator to link to a libraryís online catalog, PURLs, or to a locally maintained Web page. Youíre really only limited by how much work can be done in a day! Not only can Gov Doc serials be listed with all the libraryís other serials, but they can retain their designation as being received through the FDLP, which can often be very illuminating for administrators on a variety of levels.

Does anyone in your library create a new titles list? If so, ask if you can include new government document titles and be sure to designate they came through the FDLP. Ask people in other areas of the library to link to your government document page--especially from any subject guides or reference and instruction pages. Be creative and take advantage of what other departments in your library are doing! And lastly publicize your outreach and promotions --- create a simple Web page to keep a record of what you have done, like <http://library.gcsu.edu/~govdocs/outreach.html>. Even with just a teeny budget and the smallest amount of time you can help raise awareness! And donít forget you can order promotional material from <http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fdlp/pr/order.html> for free.

[Lisa served as Documents Coordinator at Georgia College & State University from February 2003 until June 2003. She is currently the Documents Librarian at Austin Peay State University.]