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Government Information Services Team

Implementation Report

July 9, 2009



   I.       Background.......................................................................................1

   II.      Focus Groups.....................................................................................3

   III.    Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections..............3

   IV.    Technical Services................................................................................5

   V.     Public Services....................................................................................6

   VI.    Assessment.......................................................................................10

   VII.   Funding requested..............................................................................10





In August 2008, the Library Executive Committee charged the Government Information Services Team to review current government information programs, encompassing public and technical services, and to develop a plan extending the reach of these services by integrating all or parts of the current Government Documents operations into the larger Library organization.   The work of this Team was grounded in the conviction that government information is an essential component of information services in virtually every research discipline.  Therefore, any recommendations are intended to support the goal of ensuring that government information sources and expert research assistance are available to all the students, scholars and members of the general public who rely on the University Library, regardless of discipline or location.


The Government Information Services Team's recommendations were submitted in an Interim Report <> which was approved by the Library Executive Committee with minor amendments in March 2009.  In this Interim Report, the Team recommended:  1) the creation of a new unit combining central reference and government information services; 2) the appointment (through internal reassignment) of a Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections with library-wide responsibilities for promoting the use, ready accessibility and sound stewardship of government information, and; 3)  the integration of Government information technical services and acquisitions functions into the Central Access Management (CAM) workflow through the establishment of a Government Documents Cataloging and Processing team within CAM.


Working Groups

Following the Library Executive Committee's endorsement of the recommendations in the Interim Report, two working groups were formed to identify opportunities and issues relating to the implementation of these recommendations:  1) Government Information/Technical Services Working Group; and 2) Reference and the Government Documents Librarian Working Group.  Issues needing resolution were identified through structured brainstorming session and subgroups were then formed to address these issues.


Subgroups of the Government Information/Technical Services Working Group:


Workflows and Processing




Training and Orientation


Coordination and Leadership


Subgroups of the Reference-Government Documents Librarians Working Group:


Service Model and Reference Desk Staffing (identify possible service models; including referrals/consultations and reference desk staffing)


Training (identify competency levels and training methods/approaches, coordinate cross-training)




Identity/Organizational Model 


Notes and agendas from the meetings of these working groups are posted on the Government Information Services Team page <>.


The present report brings together recommendations from these working groups with those from the original Government Information Services Team:


Janis L. Johnston, Director, Law Library (Team Leader)

Kevin McLaughlin, Government Documents Staff

       Mary Mallory, Government Documents Faculty

Beth Woodard, Central Reference  Faculty

Mary Laskowski, Technical Service Faculty (replaced by Michael Norman, March 2009)

Cherie Weible, Central Public Services Division Faculty

JoAnn Jacoby, Administrative Liaison


All members of the Government Information Team and the two working groups have had the opportunity to review and comment on the present report.




The Government Information Services Team coordinated focus group and email interviews in order to obtain information about how faculty, academic staff and graduate students use materials published and disseminated by governments, intergovernmental organizations (e.g., the United Nations), and nongovernmental organizations (e.g., Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross) in research and teaching.  The information gathered will inform the further development of library services to support these scholarly needs. A summary of the results are currently being prepared by Mary Mallory.  This summary will be shared with the University Librarian, posted on the NSM website and may also be disseminated at professional meetings and publications.


Forty-four faculty, academic staff and graduate students who use government information in their teaching and research were sent emails inviting them to participate in one of two focus group sessions hosted by members of the Government Information Services Team (JoAnn Jacoby, Mary Mallory and Beth Woodard).  Known or likely users of government information were identified by referrals and by reviewing publicly available CVs, faculty web pages, publications, and class syllabi.   In addition, the invitation was forwarded to the following departments for distribution to their faculty and graduate student email lists: Education, Illinois Natural History Survey, Agriculture and Consumer Economics, Social Work, Urban Planning, History, Finance, Economics, Kinesiology and Community Health, Human and Community Development, College of Media, Political Science, Sociology, Landscape Architecture, Institute of Aviation, Labor and Employment Relations, Afro-American Studies and Research Program, Gender and Women's Studies, Geography, and Geology.


Three individuals participated in a focus group session held on May 22, 2009 and the remainder responded to the same questions via an email survey:


    * Aerospace Engineer, Research Park

    * Academic Professional, Office of Extension

    * Adjunct Assistant Professor, Political Science

    * Associate Professor, History

    * Extension Specialist, Human & Community Development

    * Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction

    * Professor, History

    * Associate Professor, Agriculture and Consumer Economics




The Interim Report recommended the creation of a new position, Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections, with library wide responsibilities for promoting the use, ready accessibility and sound stewardship of government information in all formats.  This position will be filled by the current Head of the Government Documents Library, who will move to this position when that unit closes on June 30, 2009.   The draft position description is provided in Appendix 1.


The Team recommends that the .33FTE GA previously allocated to Government Documents be reassigned to the Coordinator.  The responsibilities and duties assigned to this GA would include:



o   Expand and maintain web site, including updating broken links

o   Develop depository and services web pages, course guides, resource guides, LibGuides, tutorials, guides for special audiences

o   Create web exhibits

o   Help to provide CD and DVD assistance to users onsite

o   Participate in collection development, management and preservation activities

o   Work with academic departments and organizations outside the university to publicize government information services and the collections

o   Teach workshops, provide tours, teach classes on using government information

o   Continue work on transferring government information vertical file (tangible) to web-based resource


The GA will be jointly supervised by the Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections (for all duties except for those related to service on the reference desk) and the graduate assistant coordinator in Reference, Research and Government Information (for duties related to provision of reference services at the Reference, Research and Government Information desk).


There was consensus among the Team that the Coordinator will also need additional ongoing staff support for duties not appropriate for a graduate assistant.  Two options for providing this support were discussed:


1)  The Coordinator works with the Head of CAM to help set priorities for the  processing and access to government information sources, compliance with depository requirements and the assignment of CAM staff to special projects.  The Coordinator will likewise work with the Head of Reference, Research and Government Information and the other librarians in that unit to assign staff and graduate assistant time toward  ongoing office support and special projects.  This option would provide access to a pool of staff with a range of expertise and skills; or,


2)  A designated staff member is assigned at .33 FTE to the Coordinator, with duties as follows:


Staff, .33 FTE, Duties

The staff member's role will evolve as the Coordinator's role develops.  The responsibilities listed below represent current staff member's assignments and the type of support that it is anticipated the Coordinator will require.  Presumably the staff will be a Library Specialist who has provided reference services previously, is familiar with web work, and basic information technology and software, such as, CD-ROM setup, access and use.  Duties will include: 





As per the recommendations of the Technical Services Working Group (approved December 2008), all technical services and acquisitions functions for government information will be consolidated into the Cataloging and Access Management unit as of June 30.  Bringing the processing of these materials into the mainstream of the Library's technical services operations will make them more accessible to users, allow additional Library personnel to work with these important resources, facilitate the automated harvesting and uploading of records obtained from vendors and other libraries (e.g. Marcive), better enable the technical services staff reassigned from Government Documents to contribute to local and CIC/Google digitization work for government information, and speed the incorporation of digital government publications into the University Library's search mechanisms.


The two permanent staff will be reassigned to CAM.  These staff, along with the Assistant Government Information Librarian/UN Specialist (with a 50% assignment of effort toward CAM, and another 50% toward public services in the new Reference, Research and Government Information unit) will continue to focus on government information materials: 


Paula Reveal (Library Specialist):  100% to CAM. 


Kevin McLaughlin (Library Specialist):  100% to CAM


David Griffiths (Assistant Government Information Librarian/U.N. Specialist): 50% to CAM


Student wages 

CAM has committed to allocating funds for students hours at the current level, with a designated subfund assigned specifically to government information (such subfunds also exist for IPM and Map and Geography).  Monthly fund reports will be distributed to the Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections, as well as the student supervisor within CAM (Paula Reveal, Library Specialist).  These students will be responsible for the processing of new acquisitions (receipt & marking), as well as shelving and collection maintenance in the non-Dewey areas of the Main Stacks and the Reference Room.  


All staff will relocate to CAM by June 30, but  we recommend that some backlogs of unprocessed material remain in 200D through the fall semester, during which time a concerted effort will be made (with the help of IPM) to process the backlogs of gifts and transfers shelved in 200D.   Keeping these materials in situ will relieve space shortagesin CAM and minimize the repeated movement of the same material.  The time and effort used to relocate the material can better be spent searching and processing it.  200D will be emptied on or before November 30.  We recommend that at least one staffworkstation remain in 200D until December 1.  Faculty workstations will be relocated as they move to their new offices .




As per the recommendation in this Team's Interim Report <approved by the Library Executive Committee in March 2009>, we recommend that as of June 30, 2009: 1) a new unit be created bringing together general reference and government information services in the Main Library; and,  2) the Government Documents Library close.   Technical services functions will be relocated (with staff and student lines) to CAM as described above.  Reference services will be provided by the new unit, bringing together general reference services with those supporting government information, and involving all librarians and graduate assistants formerly assigned to Government Documents and Central Reference.  Instruction and outreach for government information will be provided by this unit and by the Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections.

The Team recommends that a professional facilitator be brought in to conduct team-building exercises to help to establish the sense of the new unit "as a unit" and to build a solid foundation for success in this important central services unit.   This Team-building should include the Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collection in addition to permanent members of the unit.  Outcomes will focus on working together effectively as a unified operation, including a shared understanding of appropriate approaches to conflict resolution


Name of unit

Two names have been discussed for the new unit.  The Interim Report submitted by the Government Information Team proposed "Central Reference and Government Information Services" while the Librarian Working Group has suggested "Reference, Research and Government Information."  The Team now recommends that the unit be named the "Reference, Research and Government Information. "  Room 200, often referred to as the "Reference Room," should be called the "Reading Room for Reference, Research and Government Information."   This is consistent with the existing signage for this room (which identifies it as the "Reading Room") and better reflects the more inclusive use of Room 200 which has been opened up to house collections from other parts of the Library (e.g. Library and Information Science reference materials).  At some point there may be a naming opportunity for this room through a donor, and this would help anticipate renaming the space to be the "So-and-so Reading Room" should the opportunity arise. Voyager locations should be changed accordingly (from "Reference" to "Reading Room") with a sublocation for SuDocs and other government classification schemas.  Options for the government information sublocation include "Reading Room--Government Information" but this will be discussed further with the Coordinator of Integrated Systems and decided before August 15.


The Team further recommends that the new name "Reference, Research and Government Information" replace the existing listing for Reference in the schedule of hours as well as in the Library locations web page, 1 st floor directory, phone directories, etc .  The listing for Government Documents should be retained in the schedule of hours for one year, but with the addition of "See Information Desk (for service hours) and Reading Room (for collections)".


The name of the service point was also discussed by the Librarian Working Group.  While a vote indicates consensus that the "Information Desk" was an acceptable name, there was some discussion of whether or not to rename and resign the service point with a moniker more consistent with the new mission. Various options were discussed, but the short term recommendation is to add "Reference, Research and Government Information" on the east side of the desk or directly under the "Information Desk" sign at the service point .


Unit Head

The Team recommends the appointment of a permanent unit head , preferably with experience in a library providing general reference and government information services from the same service point.  A national search for this position has been approved.  The Team recommends that an Interim Head be appointed from within the current Library faculty as soon as possible to oversee the transition until the permanent position is filled



At a June 2009 retreat, the Librarian Working Group brainstormed ideas for a mission that would encompass their shared service philosophy and describe the unique role that the new unit will within the University Library.  The ideas brainstormed were then synthesized into the following mission statement:


The Reference, Research and Government Information unit is the University Library's central hub for research assistance, leading patrons to the discovery of library resources, government and statistical information, and expert help.   


We provide expert assistance in navigating the government information landscape.  Using a wide range of tools, we provide assistance to researchers working in all disciplines, help people to locate difficult-to-find items, and make referrals to subject specialists when appropriate. 


We support the educational mission of the university by approaching reference programs and services from an instructional perspective, and by fostering user independence and the development of information literacy skills. 


We support the service mission of the university by extending the library's reach to the local community and beyond, assisting users around the world and on our campus with our unique collections and through our commitment to free and ready access to government information.


We serve our diverse patron population indirectly by being their advocate on library technology and service initiatives and by selecting resources in all formats that benefit a wide range of researchers.


Desk Staffing, Referrals, Training and Competencies

Service for the newly combined unit will be provided at the desk in the main catalog/circulation room using current Central Reference staff and the Government Documents librarians, with scheduled hours appropriate to their appointments. All Government Documents librarians will continue to monitor the government documents email queue and the national Government Information Online (GIO) chat consortium. Government Documents Librarians will also provide consultation hours, most likely by appointment, utilizing an online form to set up appointments. 

All librarians, staff and graduate assistants in the unit will be expected to provide assistance in locating and using current government information which is accessible online.  More complicated questions or those involving less commonly used retrospective materials will be referred to government information specialists. Orientation and training will be provided during the summer months, with training ongoing into fall 2009.  


The team recommends that the Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections be the selector and fund manager for the acquisition of government information resources . The Head of the Reference, Research and Government Information unit will be responsible for general collection management for all collections housed in the Reading Room and the Head and Coordinator will collaborate on managing the government information collections in the Reading Room.


The Team recommends that materials classed by SuDoc and other government information numbers be maintained and shelved separately within the Reading Room (see discussion to reinstate usage of the original name of Room 200 under "Name of Unit" above), but all materials classified in Dewey in should be brought together to make it easier to find and use these materials, as well as to facilitate discovery by researchers who may approach their topic from another direction (e.g. someone researching issues of race and discrimination might be informed by a synthesis of census results, as well as other reference materials). 


Space and Equipment

The Team recommends that the tall shelves separating the Government Documents area from the rest of Room 200 should be removed or replaced with shorter shelves that open up the sight lines to any computers remaining in that area, for security and well as public service reasons and appropriate signage installed to designate the government information area .  This may require that some materials be transferred to the Government Documents area in Main Stacks or to Oak Street.  The Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections will be responsible for ensuring that the materials are selected by July 30 and transferred as soon as transfers are allowed.


The Team recommends that the two outdated microfiche reader/printers in the Reading Room be retired and replaced with a digital reader-scanner that can handle all types of microforms .  While these machines are present elsewhere in the Main Library, having a unit in Room 200 means that they would be available whenever the Library is open and without removing microforms from the immediate area.  The scanners in Room 200 are heavily used and it is anticipated that this machine would be as well.


Office space

While the Team recognizes that bringing the librarians in this unit together in one space would help foster a sense of coherence and the development of a unified service program, the limits of the space available in the Main Library building preclude having offices for all eight librarians (nine if the proposed 50% FTE Academic Outreach position is approved) in close physical proximity.  It is therefore essential that other efforts be undertaken to facilitate communication, team building and training, including frequent librarian and staff meetings as the new unit is established.


The Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections will be assigned a new office (as of this writing, the Coordinator has been offered two options but negotiations are ongoing).   The Numeric and Spatial Data Librarian (with a 25% assignment in the Scholarly Commons, and 75% in Reference, Research and Government Information) will be assigned an office in the Scholarly Commons suite.  The Assistant Government Information Librarian/U.N. Specialist will have a desk in CAM that will serve as his home base when he is not providing reference service at the Information Desk.


All the librarians currently occupying the 3 rd floor office suite will remain there for the immediate future, but it should be noted that the current office space in 300 is not ideal. The Team recommends that a better space for faculty and staff offices be identified.  If such space cannot be identified in the near future, the 3 rd floor office suite should be remodeled (with new paint and plaster, once the improvements to the building envelope are completed) to better accommodate the high occupancy and heavy use.   Ideally, all faculty and staff with significant percent-time appointments in the unit would have offices near each other.  Offices immediately adjacent to the service areas would be highly desirable for supervising, training and mentoring GAs, providing back-up support for the Information Desk,  and making referrals to government information specialists and other librarians.  An office suite that opened up onto the area between the Circulation Desk and the Information Desk could also serve as a consultation space for answering in depth reference questions and for working with patrons whose questions might require privacy. 


Marketing, Outreach, and Identity

The librarians in the new reference and government information unit have a unique opportunity to redefine themselves and their role in both the University Library and the intellectual life of campus.  Using the mission statement as a guide, it is essential that this role be communicated and promoted within the Library and to campus audiences as it continues to develop.  The members of this unit are encouraged to pursue all available opportunities to promote their new service program and to seek support from the Strategic Marketing and Communications Committee grants to help fund these efforts.





The Interim Head should work with the librarians in the new unit to complete a progress report describing successes and remaining challenges, which will be submitted to the University Librarian and in January 2010 (six months after the unit's formation).  This initial evaluation will be followed by a more detailed assessment to be submitted by July 30, 2010.  The Library Assessment Working Group should assist in the design of this assessment and develop appropriate evaluative metrics.  The assessment of the new unit's impact should be tied to the Librarian Working Group's mission statement.  The one-year assessment should also include a section drafted by the Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections that provides an evaluation of progress toward the goals articulated in an appendix to the Coordinator position description.The Government Information Services Committee should independently submit its own assessment of progress toward these goals.


Both the preliminary sixmonth evaluation and the final assessment in July 2010 should examinethe effectiveness of approaches that have been developed in areas of overlapping responsibility between the unit and the Coordinator, including the management of reference collections, GA supervision, and the effectiveness and equitability of referrals to government information specialists.



It is anticipated that the consolidation of technical services functions and personnel into CAMwill provide opportunities for cross-training and economies of scale that shouldresult in a reduction of the backlog of uncataloged government documents and increased capacity for processingmaterials that the Government Documents Library has received from other units.  The original cataloging of titles in the backlog will add unique records to OCLC WorldCat, which will generate credits that reduce the Library's annual payment to OCLC.  The assessment will include a report measuring progress on these areas.



CAM will also facilitate access to more electronic government information resources through the Library's e-resource search engines, OpenURL services, and federated search portals, as well as the batch-processing of bibliographic records in our online catalogs and repositories. Combining these access points with the thousands of government publications to be included in the Library's large-scale digitization projects (including Google Book Digitization, Internet Archive, Hathi Trust, and Illinois Harvest), librarians and staff from both CAM and Government Information Services should be able to highlight, in the next year, increased levels of digital access to state, federal and international government publications.




NSM funding will be requested for:


Professional facilitation for team building: $3,000-4,000

Remodeling of 3 rd Floor office suite:  $20,000-25,000

Map case for depository posters: $1,000-2,000

State of the art microform scanner (Scan Pro 1000) and associated hardware:  $8,500-15,000 APPENDIX 1:   Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections


            Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections

Position Description

June 25, 2009


            The position of Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections is being created to ensure that all librarians and staff of the University Library are aware of the broad array of government information sources available and trained to fully and efficiently access those sources when needed.  The University Library receives much of this information at no cost under depository agreements that obligate the Library to maintain these materials in specific ways.  The Coordinator will insure the Library conforms to the requirements of these various depository agreements. As more and more government information sources are distributed electronically and legacy collections are digitized, the service and outreach component of this position will grow proportionally as the focus shifts from managing print depository collections to connecting researchers to the government information available in all formats.


            The Coordinator of Government Information Services, Access and Collections has overall responsibility for the administration of all depository agreements entered into by the University Library.  The Coordinator will work with librarians throughout the Library to accomplish the following:



The Coordinator will also lead the Government Information Services Committee to be composed of individuals representing the full range of disciplines and Library Divisions providing government information services to their users. The Committee will develop appropriate programs, activities, etc. to assist in the promotion, training and management of government information sources.


The position works closely with the Head, Content Access Management, the Head of the new Reference, Research and Government Information unit, as well as the Associate University Librarian for Services and the Associate University Librarian for Collections.  The position reports to the University Librarian and Dean of Libraries


Short Term Goals: