Gordon B. Olson Library at Minot State University

Imagine serving a diverse community that includes a university, four Native American Indian reservations, and an Air Force Base, with no other depository within hours. Further imagine serving these communities in the wake of severe flooding that threatened not only the area, but your own library. This scenario has been a reality for this month’s spotlight library, the Gordon B. Olson Library at Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota.

The staff of the Gordon B. Olson Library at Minot State University excels in providing depository services to its diverse population. The depository collection is visible and easy to use; library instruction services are provided to a variety of users; and the staff eagerly fulfills the mission of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).

The library is not just for students. Anyone may enter, browse, and use the library’s collections freely. The reference desk, Government documents, microfiche collections, and maps are all on the main floor of the library and located near one other. Visible signage points out the Government documents collection, so even new patrons can easily find the Government information they need. Depository items are incorporated into displays so library users can be made aware of what the depository has to offer.

Visibility is not limited to the physical building. A research guide of U.S. Government resources is available on the library’s Web site. Depository Coordinator David Iversen generates monthly ‘new book’ lists that include all the new depository receipts and contain internal links so that patrons can go directly to the Government documents section and review new titles. Faculty benefit by regular notifications about new and potentially relevant Government documents that they can share with Minot State University’s students.

The library’s director, Stephen Banister, is dedicated to keeping the depository visible and community-friendly by providing instruction services to all patrons. The library instruction classes that are offered to students incorporate depository resources, so students become familiarized with Government documents just as they do with other collections. The depository coordinator also presented four 30-minute instructional sessions for students in grades four through six. The coordinator reached out to others for additional ideas, content, and suggestions for the event and then shared feedback after the event on GOVDOC-L.

Each of these actions demonstrates the dedication of the coordinator, director, documents assistant Donna Just, and the entire Gordon B. Olson library staff to fulfill the purpose of the FDLP by providing quality depository services to all users.

When Minot was threatened by severe flooding earlier this year, the library stayed open throughout the threat to serve the needs of their community. Staff members, many of whom suffered significant personal damage in the flooding, made sure that they were there to continue to provide services to the distressed community. The depository was especially helpful during this emergency allowing the National Guard to use maps from the collection to assist them in diverting floodwaters.

A lot can be learned from a depository operation, such as the one at Gordon B. Olson Library. Rain or shine, the staff serves a vast and diverse community of users with the same dedication it has to the students, faculty, and staff of Minot State University. This dedication, combined with the eagerness of the director and coordinator to promote and utilize the depository, makes this library one to look to for inspiration and ideas.

Depository Library Spotlight

Read about previous libraries that were highlighted in the Depository Library Spotlight.

FDLP Connection Archive

We have sunsetted the FDLP Connection with the July / August 2018 issue and will not be publishing the Connection anymore. We’ve enjoyed bringing the FDLP Connection to the community over the years! You can still view past issues. View full archive (2011-2018).