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February 15, 2008

2008 marks ULM Library’s 60th anniversary in state depository program; 45th in federal

The ULM Library will have much to celebrate in 2008—this year marks the 60th anniversary of its participation in the Louisiana state document depository program (start date: Dec. 11, 1948), and the 45th anniversary of its membership in the federal depository library program (start date: Feb. 5, 1963).

Both the state and federal depository programs constitute a proverbial library within a library—supporting the university students, faculty, administration, and staff, but also serving as the source for community access to government documents.

There are approximately 240,000 federal and State of Louisiana publications at the ULM Library—a huge portion of the second floor. Most are currently available by electronic access, but the most important ones tend to be represented in hard copy as well, including items over a hundred years old.

When Karen Cook, government documents librarian at the ULM Library, was asked what the searching public might find in the depository program, she replied, “The easy answer is: anything. This is a very rewarding area to be in, because there is so much good material that comes through that can be of use to the public.”

To showcase the sheer variety available, the library’s government publications department is organizing book displays each month that feature government documents. February’s display focuses on black history and related government communications.

If the government publishes something, the community has access to it—even unusual items like musical scores in Braille or more commonplace features like consumer health information. Students and enthusiasts of political, historical and criminal justice areas regularly make use of this valuable resource, but a random sampling of the offerings might present the public with: science, technical and agricultural reports, gardening information, access to Louisiana cookbooks and state literary magazines, statistical documents, research monographs, and educational kits for children.

At the ULM Library, the public has access, but individuals must first obtain a special card to check the materials out. The majority of the federal materials, and some of the state documents, circulate in an identical manner to those from the general library collections; exceptions are essentially reference-type materials or very old documents. Publications that are fewer than 16 pages also do not circulate, but may be photocopied.

Documents are often available in Spanish, and occasionally in other languages.

For more information, contact: (318) 342-1066 or email

More about depository programs:

Federal depository libraries help to safeguard an important national tradition—the public’s right to know. Congress established the Federal Depository Library Program in 1813. Collection categories include: business, careers, census data, defense and military history, laws and regulations, science and technology, travel, and more.

Interested patrons have lots of options; for example, reading from the massive selection of Senate and House of Representatives hearings, scanning NASA and Department of the Interior documents, and obtaining copies of the presidents’ speeches.

Most records are found by the issuing agency via SuDocs call numbers, as opposed to by subject. SuDocs are named for the Superintendent of Documents and are issued by the U.S. Government Printing Office for articles published by the federal government. A substantial array are covered by the depository programs.

For more information, got to:

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