Charge for Government Information Services

As a land-grant library and a participant in the Federal Depository Library Program and other depository plans from organizations such as the UN, the University Library has a commitment to collect and preserve information from governments, intergovernmental organizations and public non-governmental organizations, and to design service programs that allow our users to access and make effective use of this information. A recent article in Library Journal notes that "Government information has been profoundly affected by technological change" < >, but technology is only one of the change drivers in the critical information sector. Government information is relevant to teaching, learning, and research across the curriculum, and has the potential to develop into a critical component of public engagement activities at the University Library. In order to ensure continued excellence in the care of government information collections and the design and delivery of government information services, the Library will pursue a staged approach to integrating government information services into broader service programs and initiatives

Recognizing the deep domain knowledge that is the hallmark of government information specialists, the high  quality of the information services currently provided by the Government Documents Library, and the desire to extend the reach of these services through more robust outreach programs to users across campus and beyond, this group is being asked to consider how to best support these specialized services in the context of broader service programs such as Central Reference, Information Literacy, Content Access Management (CAM) and other campus depositories, including  the Funk ACES and Law Libraries.


The Government Information Service Team will review current government information programs, encompassing public and technical services, and develop a plan to improve the effectiveness of service to users by integrating all or parts of the current Government Documents operations into other parts of the Library organization.  Specifically, the Team is being asked to:

  1. Identify how and where to most effectively align and/or integrate public services currently provided by the Government Documents Library into other parts of the Library, including a shared service point with Central Reference that will provide the flexibility necessary to support a full range of service programs , including ready reference service, digital reference service, instructional services, research consultation, and public engagement, suggest assessment measures and submit an interim report to the University Librarian by January 8, 2009.
  2. Convene focus group(s) of faculty representatives that frequently use government information in their teaching and/or research for discussion and feedback during (1) and (3) .
  3. Launch pilot of the shared service point and other integrated public services in Spring 2009, assess these services, and make future recommendations for public services based on this assessment to the University Librarian by May 2009.
  4. Collaborate with faculty and staff in the Technical Services to develop a plan for bringing materials currently processed in the Government Documents Library into the central technical services workflow by July 2009.  This plan should outline new workflows, identify specific steps or stages needed to transition to and integrated workflow,  provide a timeline for implementing these steps, consider the impacts on the units involved, and identify staffing needs and responsibilities.
    • Responsibilities for ongoing management of the SuDoc, UN, and related collections should also be considered in the staffing plan, as well as the need to monitor professional developments pertaining to the management of such collections (e.g., the CIC cooperative storage program).  




  • Janis L. Johnston, Director, Law Library (Team Leader)
  • Kevin McLaughlin, Government Documents Staff
  • Mary Mallory, Government Documents Faculty
  • Beth Woodard, Central Reference Service Faculty
  • Mary Laskowski, Technical Service Faculty or Staff
  • Cherie Weible, Central Public Services Faculty
  • JoAnn Jacoby, Administrative Liaison

Approved by the Executive Committee:  August 11, 2008