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Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program
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Readers Exchange Northeastern State University Library Jeanette McQuitty
Northeastern State University Library
On Friday, September 26, 2003, at 12 noon, the John Vaughan Library at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma celebrated its 80th anniversary as a Federal Documents Depository. Congressman Brad Carson, 2nd Congressional District of Oklahoma, was the honored guest and speaker at the festive occasion. State Representative Jim Wilson, representing District 4 in the State Legislature, was also a guest and introduced Congressman Carson. Regional Government Publications Librarians John Phillips, Oklahoma State University, and Steve Beleu, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, were also present.
Carson spoke about the importance of the John Vaughan Library as a Federal depository of government publications. "They are, in the end, the bulwark for our democracy. It's sometimes hard to know what's going on, but these publications are our way of trying to tell people across the country what we're doing, and it is there for people to read, whether you're young or old, if you're interested in holding your government accountable," said Carson.
Carson expressed his appreciation of the library staff: "To all of the librarians, thank you for the good work you do, because you are changing people's lives, young people's lives especially, by introducing them to things that might be outside their normal experience."
Wilson spoke of the NSU Library's importance as a Federal depository. "This is how we keep democracy whole and safe. We have got to know what our government is doing; and if you don't know what your government is doing, if you're not involved, people like me will be running the government, and I know nobody wants that," said Wilson, drawing laughter from the crowd. He also said, "This is to keep information in your hand so you can keep us honest, and that's what it's all about. That's how our democracy survives."
A letter dated February 15, 1923, from the Superintendent of Documents in Washington, D.C. designated the Northeastern State Teachers College Library as a depository. Jeanette McQuitty, director of user services and government publications coordinator, said that NSU's was the seventh library in the state of Oklahoma to receive depository status. There are now 19 depository libraries in the state. NSU's was the only depository in the second congressional district until the recent congressional redistricting. McQuitty said, "Since 1923, the John Vaughan Library at NSU has been providing access to government information to the people of the 2nd Congressional District of Oklahoma. Not only has the Federal documents depository been a valuable resource to the citizens of Oklahoma, but it has also provided reliable, timely research materials for our faculty and students. As of May 31, 2003, there are 241,634 Federal publications in our collection. At least 60 percent of all government publications are now available to our users in electronic format. We provide computers equipped with CD and DVD drives to meet the Government Printing Office's recommended specifications for public access workstations."
Connie Mnich, government publications technician, prepared several displays including documents under each President since 1923 and "Forty-six important Federal publications about Oklahoma," a list compiled by Beleu. She also presented a Federal document to Congressman Carson, "A History of the United States Capitol: A Chronicle of Design, Construction, and Politics," gifts to the regional librarians and certificates of appreciation to McQuitty signed by Superintendent of Documents Judith Russell and Gil Baldwin, Director, Library Programs Service. McQuitty presented an Oneida crystal eagle-clock to Mnich.
A regional workshop for librarians and technicians who administer and maintain Federal depository library collections or provide reference services to the public was held from 9 a.m. - 12 noon. Beleu presented the workshop, American Memory: Oklahoma.
Congressman Brad Carson, 2nd Congressional District, Oklahoma, speaks to the crowd gathered to celebrate the Federal Depository's 80th anniversary.