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July 3, 2008

ULM Library to celebrate two anniversaries Sept. 25

The ULM Library will observe two important milestones with a program and reception titled “Celebrating 60 Years of Documents” Thursday, Sept. 25, beginning at 1 p.m. in the ULM Conference Center (located on the ULM Library’s seventh floor).

The library will commemorate 60 years as a charter member of the Louisiana State Documents Depository Program (start date: Dec. 11, 1948) and 45 years as a member of the Federal Depository Libraries 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 providing free community access to government publications.

Guest Charlene Cain, head of Access Services at the LSU Law Library, will speak from 1 – 2 p.m. in the ULM Conference Center. Her lecture is about “The Cornerstone of Democratic Values: The Librarian’s Role in Access to Government Information.”

According to the description, “Librarians have long served as guardians of the First Amendment, and government documents librarians are warriors in the battle for free access to government information. But in a so-called information society where security has become paramount, how do we reconcile democratic values with patriotic duty? Can our ethical standard to fight censorship still hold?”

From 2:15 – 3:15 p.m., also in the ULM Conference Center, guest Lori Smith, Government Documents Department Head at Sims Memorial Library, Southeastern Louisiana University, will give a lecture titled “Government Sources 101: An Introduction to Online Government Publications and Web Sites.”

The description states that “the online versions of several basic reference resources produced by government agencies will be examined, and a number of useful government Web sites will be demonstrated. Both federal and Louisiana state sources will be covered.”

Throughout the afternoon, tours will be conducted and related displays made available to visitors. The event will conclude with a reception at 4 p.m. in the library’s Special Collections section (Passman Room on the ULM Library’s fifth floor).

For more information, contact Dr. Karen Cook at: (318) 342-3043 or at

Biographical information for Cain and Smith:

Cain received her bachelor’s degree from Nicholls State University and both her master’s degree in history and master’s degree in library science from LSU. She has worked as lead archivist at the Louisiana State Archives and Records Service and as government documents librarian at Sims Memorial Library at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Since 1990, she has worked at the LSU Law Library, first as government information librarian and now as head of Access Services. She chaired the Government Relations Committee of the American Association of Law Libraries, served as president of the Louisiana Library Association, and represented law libraries on the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer.

Smith has been the head of the Government Documents Department at Sims Memorial Library since 1991. Prior to that, she served as a government information specialist at the St. Louis Public Library.

In 2003, a book conceived, edited and co-authored by Smith (“Tapping State Government Information Sources”) was published by Greenwood Press. In 2004, Smith received the Margaret T. Lane Award given by the Government Documents Round Table of the Louisiana Library Association. In 2005, Smith produced an updated edition of the Louisiana Directory of Cities, Towns, and Villages, which was published online by the State Library. In 2008, she wrote a chapter on state publications for a book issued by the American Library Association titled “Managing Electronic Government Information in Libraries: Issues and Practices.”

Smith has been very active in professional organizations and has served multiple terms as chair of LLA GODORT and of the Louisiana Advisory Council for the State Documents Depository Program.

More about the state and federal depository programs at the ULM Library:

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 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.”

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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