University of Alabama University Libraries

Screen shot of Web site

The University of Alabama University Libraries are being spotlighted by the U.S. Government Printing Office in May, 2009. The University Libraries consist of five libraries: Gorgas, Bruno, Hoole, McLure, and Rodgers. The Libraries has been a Federal depository library since 1860 and a regional depository library since 1965. The Libraries' government documents collection currently numbers over 1.8 million pieces. A majority of the documents received from 1976 to the present are housed in Gorgas Library, while documents related to specific subject areas are sent to departmental libraries such as the Bruno Business Library or Rodgers Science and Engineering Library in order to faciliate access based on the unique needs of users. Documents received prior to 1976 are housed in closed stacks.

The Libraries promote the access and use of depository materials to users through various displays and exhibits. Moreover, the Libraries' use of the Web to share Federal and state collections with users is of particular notice. Deviating from the standard hours of operation and online searchable catalog, Government documents librarian, Valerie Glenn, uses the Web to inform users of the various Federal collections and usage policies of the collections, stating,

"As a public institution and a Federal Depository Library, the government documents collection is open to everyone.  The majority of materials are allowed to be checked out just like other library materials.  Users who are not affiliated with the University of Alabama may view, scan, or photocopy documents within the library building.  There is also an option to purchase a Borrower's Card..."

The Web site not only makes users aware of on-site assistance that is available at the library, but takes advantage of interactive Web tools, such as Web chat as well as the library's "Ask a Librarian" and the GIO service.

Screen shot of Web site

Another exciting example of the Libraries' dedication to serving the public and furthering knowledge is that they sponsor a blog, 'BamaDocs, which is run by Ms. Glenn. This allows the Libraries to highlight Government documents that focus on items of interest to the state of Alabama. Furthermore, the Libraries host a discussion list called ALDOCS, which "aims to provide news, information, and discussion especially for library employees who work with government information, publications, and data at all levels throughout the state of Alabama."  These tools make the Libraries stand out as unique and innovative.