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Government Information Essentials

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Winner of the 2019 Margaret T. Lane/Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research Award

Government documents, both physical and electronic, constitute a rich and varied resource that calls for special attention. And because government information is useful and pervasive in nearly every kind of library, more and more librarians of all types need to know how to work effectively with federal, state, and international resources. This contributed volume gathers the expertise of experienced government information librarians from across the country. Providing real-world insight into the work, collections, and interests of this discipline, this book

  • surveys the wide variety of government information and the people who use it;
  • discusses what it’s like to be a government documents librarian, from the first day on the job through taking on a management role;
  • addresses networking, training, and other essential tools for collaboration and learning;
  • covers space planning, streamlining, disaster preparedness and response, the increasing prevalence of digital information, and other key collection issues;
  • offers best practices for connecting library users with government information;
  • looks at research guides, workshops, and other teaching and training topics; and
  • explores advocating for transparency and access to information, promoting government documents to library users, and using exhibits as community outreach.

With more government publications becoming freely available, this volume fills an important need, presenting concrete guidance that will help librarians flourish in this crucial field.

Introduction: Government Documents and the People Who Use Them
Susanne Caro


Part I    Advice for the New Document Professional

Chapter 1    Networking and Training: Essential Tools for Collaboration and Learning
Hayley Johnson

Chapter 2    Experience of a New Government Documents Librarian
Andrew Lopez and Lori Looney

Chapter 3    Middle Management: Strategies for Success
Jill Vassilakos-Long


Part II    Collection Management

Chapter 4    Visualizing Space: Your Depository Library as Place
Aimée C. Quinn

Chapter 5    Space Planning: Weeding, Moving, and Providing Access to Government Information
Julia Stewart

Chapter 6    Streamlining Collections: Disasters, Consolidation, and the Digital Landscape
Vickie Mix

Chapter 7    Growth and Maintenance of Digital Collections
Susanne Caro


Part III    Working with Collections

Chapter 8    The Hunt for the Elusive: Finding and Using the History in Government Documents
Paula L. Webb and Leasha E. Martin

Chapter 9    Federal Maps and the Depository Library
Valery King

Chapter 10    Help! I’m New Here and I Speak Spanish: Government Information for Spanish Speakers
Jane Canfield, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico


Part IV    Teaching and Training

Chapter 11    Teaching with Library Guides: Using Collections with Government Information
Latanya N. Jenkins

Chapter 12    Creating More Powerful Library Guides
David Dillard

Chapter 13    Documents to the Students
Susanne Caro

Chapter 14    Navigating Government Information: Working with Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy
Antoinette W. Satterfield


Part V    Advocacy and Events

Chapter 15    Advocating for Transparency and Access to Information
Shari Laster

Chapter 16:     A Cupcake, an Eagle, and a War: Promoting Government Documents
Lisa Pritchard

Chapter 17    Exhibits and Community Outreach
Susanne Caro

Appendix A: General Resources
Appendix B: Sample Project Plan
Appendix C: Sources for Space Planning—Best Practices
Appendix D: Map Resources
Appendix E: Spanish-Language Resources
Appendix F: Library Guide Resources

Author Biographies

Susanne Caro

Susanne Caro is the government document librarian at the University of Montana, Missoula. She has presented at library conferences regarding how to access digitized educational resources. Previously she was the state document librarian and coordinator at the New Mexico State Library where she planned and implemented the creation of a digital collection of El Palacio magazine, the oldest museum publication in the country, dating back to 1913.

"This volume is a worthwhile acquisition for those new to the profession or looking to explore this area of librarianship in a broad way ... There are no other current publications covering this topic in one volume, which also makes it a worthy book for government information professionals to consult or own."
— Technicalities

"Throughout this book, readers will find knowledgeable individuals providing guidance on many areas ... The authors have written in simple language for everyone to understand, even if you are unfamiliar with the terminology used in the field. This book is an excellent resource for anyone who would like to learn about federal government documents."
— Catholic Library World

"A highly valuable source for all government documents librarians."

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