Wyoming State Library: Excellence through Collections, Services, & Training
- Category: Community Insights
- Published: November 01 2011
- Written by Karen Kitchens, Intellectual Property Librarian, Wyoming State Library
Since its establishment in 1871 as the Wyoming Territorial Library, the Wyoming State Library (WSL) has been collecting Federal documents. Within the first year of the library’s existence, the U.S. Congress presented the new Territorial Library with a gift of Government publications which became the start of Wyoming’s Federal documents collection. WSL served as Wyoming’s regional depository from 1974-1989 and contracted for regional services from Utah State Library from 1989-1996 and the University of Colorado, Boulder, from 1996-2008. Today, WSL is a selective depository which selects approximately 14.3 percent.
Nine selective Federal depository libraries in Wyoming, including the University of Wyoming, are organized into the Wyoming Federal Depository Consortium. This consortium provides better access to Government information through electronic access, cooperative collection development, and targeted training.
Electronic access is not a luxury in Wyoming, but it is essential given our wide open spaces and geographically dispersed communities. WSL and the University of Wyoming Libraries have a shared commitment to access to Federal publications for every Wyoming community, furthering the goals of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) in serving the public. WSL provides statewide access to ProQuest’s GPO Monthly Catalog, enabling every library, not just depository libraries, access to the critical index of Federal publications. The University of Wyoming provides statewide access to the U.S. Serial Set and all Congressional publications, enabling the public to have Congressional materials in their local communities, at the time that they need them, without waiting. These innovative efforts have made it possible for all Wyoming libraries to provide Federal information regardless of the type or size of the library. Even school libraries can participate in the FDLP, and the public is well-served with instant, local access to Federal information.
Wyoming has deep agricultural and military roots. The Federal Government owns 26.4 million acres of land in Wyoming, more than 42% of the land area. The Bureau of Land Management, The Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service own and manage major tracts of land. The National Parks Service owns the 2.2 million acre Yellowstone National Park in the northwest corner of the state as well as numerous other properties. F.E. Warren Air Force base in Cheyenne is a major military installation; our collection focuses heavily on Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and Department of the Interior publications. Many of these Federal agencies have offices in the state. A main goal of our collection development is to identify, acquire, and make available publications of these offices which are not often distributed through the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) to Federal depository libraries. The State Engineer’s office has given WSL hundreds of water-related publications produced in Wyoming, which forms a large and valuable collection. These include reports by Elwood Mead, an early Wyoming territorial and state engineer, who later served as Director of the Division of Irrigation Investigations in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation in the Department of the Interior. Dr. Mead’s work was critical in the development of water policy in the U.S. West. Lake Mead is named in his honor.
Training both Wyoming library patrons and staff is an integral part of our mission. Recently posted to YouTube and linked from the WSL Web site are a series of Federal document search training videos.
This series of nine videos covers basic searching in databases such as FDsys, MetaLib, the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), and the GPO Monthly Catalog. The videos were created using Camtasia Screen Recorder Software. These videos are short (typically around five minutes) and encompass introductory searching techniques. As we serve one of the least populated states in the country, online tutorials were a good choice for statewide patron and staff access.
WSL FDLP staff will be conducting a needs assessment survey to be sent to all Wyoming librarians this fall. This survey will be conducted through Survey Monkey and will be used to determine the Federal document training needs of Wyoming librarians. Once survey results are collected and assessed, a series of four to six weekly webinars will be created according to user needs. This series will focus on searching tips and tricks for various Federal document databases. The depth of coverage will vary according to user needs. Our goal is to best meet the Federal documents informational needs of both librarians and patrons across the state in an easily accessible format.
WSL and the Wyoming Federal Depository Consortium provide greater discoverability of Federal Government information resources through cooperative collection development, electronic access, and training for all Wyoming libraries.