Mesa Public Library in Mesa, Arizona

GPO would like to spotlight the Mesa Public Library in Mesa, Arizona for their outstanding efforts to create a visible, usable depository collection. The numerous techniques the depository staff employ have a notable impact on the collections and services they provide. Sandy Rizzo, Depository/Business Librarian, and Denise Shroyer, Federal Documents Library Assistant have managed to do all this on a tight budget and with limited staff. Their medium sized public library has three locations and has served as a depository library since 1983.

To increase the visibility, usage, and circulation of parts of their collection, the depository staff at the Mesa Public Library have integrated their Spanish language materials into their Spanish language collection. Government periodicals have also been integrated into the magazine/newspaper area. Other materials are integrated on a case by case basis. After integration was complete at their library, the conclusion was that integration had increased the accessibility of the collection.

The depository coordinators successfully educate library users and staff about government information through a number of ways. For starters, they set up interesting, timely, and fun displays. They have found that it helps them to document past displays, and as a result they keep a Promotions Notebook. Past display favorites include:

  • 4th of July display with a flip-the-page quiz about your Declaration of Independence IQ, or “DIIQ”,
  • “Be Body Wise” display with a life-size drawing of the human body and documents related to the various parts,
  • “Naughty by Nature,” focusing on items related to invasive plant and pest species, featuring black and yellow background and caution tape,
  • “Voting in America” display using donated “I voted today” sticker strips (the kind received after voting) as a border around the display board.
  • For Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, military art sets and posters are displayed in-house and lent out to branch libraries for their own displays. Having a spreadsheet and cases for all the art sets aids staff to quickly identify the best material to loan out for display purposes. Since the military displays often go out to the branches, they include a note about the depository and the Government Printing Office.

The Depository Librarian also educates users about government information by incorporating it into reference interviews. In addition to serving as the depository coordinator, she is also the business librarian and she assists patrons in developing their business plans and marketing efforts. When consulting, she often uses government information such as the Census and STAT-USA. Government information (print and electronic) is also integrated into subject bibliographies on business-related topics.

Another method of educating library users is through their partnership with the US Census 2010. They have received funding through the Census Bureau’s Partnership Support Program to design mouse pads, pens, hacky sacks, erasers, school pouches, and coloring sheets to promote the Census. Everybody loves freebies!

The services the depository staff are able to provide are made possible for many reasons, one of which is their ability to participate in regional and national associations, which they duly credit their library director Heather Wolf for supporting. They stay very involved in their state’s Depository Library Council, as well as the state library association (AzLA). They have presented programs related to Federal information. The depository coordinator, Sandy Rizzo has participated in the 5-State Regional group and in Gi21 – Government Information in the 21st Century IMLS program. Ms. Rizzo co-designed 3 training modules and trained librarians throughout Arizona. They train librarians in the Mesa Public Library system on government information in sessions focused on specific topics and government information in general. Caution: Their enthusiasm is contagious!

Their library’s Web pages, being the “front door” to the online depository collection, promotes electronic information. The library homepage displays important and timely information such as information about the H1N1 flu vaccine. The Government Document’s Web page itself has its own “In the Spotlight” section that highlights things like the upcoming Census 2010

Mystery often surrounds Federal information products, limiting usage to those who are willing to click on an unknown link. To address this, rather than just linking to online government resources, the Mesa Public Library Web site provides background and context for the online resources they link to. For example, Stat-USA has the following advertisement:

Looking for in-depth information about the economy? Planning to conduct business in another country, and want information about trading partners? Seeking up-to-date import/export information? STAT-USA, NTDB/Globus, and USATradeOnline are subscription databases that we, as a depository library, are able to offer you for free…

By putting the information resources into context for library users, viewers are much more likely to explore the resources and find relevant information.

Their Web pages also provide context for print resources as well. For example, the library promotes topographic maps as a valuable tool that hikers might be interested in.

The library Web pages highlight Federal information databases on a rotating basis. This allows the library to educate people about a variety of information resources. For example, MyPyramid.gov and the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator are listed this quarter. Resources such as these are often hard to find in library catalogs or are not present at all.

The depository staff work with both their online and print collections to develop them. When weeding their print collection, they consider putting in online versions if a more recent version is available online. They have found that their library cannot house all print and link to all electronic depository material. So they have opted to scrutinize which print resources will be selected and which electronic resources will be incorporated into their online catalog and Web pages. This process ensures that relevant information is in the collection, while extraneous information is not. Future weeding projects should benefit from their careful selection.

Making Federal information products “discoverable” in the print and online world requires focus. To help guide the busy depository staff, they have written an excellent Collection Development Plan. Mesa Public Library’s Collection Development Policy outlines the many factors in the creation and maintenance of their depository collection. In particular they direct attention to meeting the needs of their Spanish speaking user group. The library staff also provide a detailed analysis of their depository collection usage, which is an integral function of planning for their future depository collection needs.

In summary, it takes time and effort to craft a well managed, visible depository collection. Through the numerous ways the depository staff employ to educate users and staff, promote the collection, and to make it accessible, they have managed to create a wonderful and highly relevant depository collection for their users.


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