Lockwood Memorial Library at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

The first Federal depository library spotlighted in 2010 is approaching its 50th anniversary as a depository library. The University at Buffalo (UB) Lockwood Memorial Library joined the FDLP in 1963 and has been an active participant ever since. Stemming from a high-level of library staff commitment in support of U.S. Government information access throughout the UB Libraries, the Lockwood Memorial Library has a strong Federal depository library operation with multiple services that benefit its library users and community in western New York and also other Federal depository libraries. GPO has noted this depository’s commitment and expertise over the years as “high-caliber”, “sophisticated”, and “experienced and highly skilled.”

The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, is the largest and most comprehensive campus in the 64-campus public SUNY system. Government publications are housed in various locations in the UB Libraries. Approximately two-thirds of the depository publications are in the Lockwood Library’s Government Documents unit, which is part of the Arts and Sciences Libraries. The other publications are primarily housed in the Science & Engineering Library, which houses scientific and technical reports as well as maps. Collectively, the UB Libraries also have a historic collection of U.S. government publications, acquired over time by library acquisitions and depository personnel in support of the extensive research at UB.

Library personnel throughout UB Libraries contribute to the success of the Federal depository operation. Central Technical Services manages the processing and bibliographic control of the depository publications as well as special projects, such as the Enhanced Shipping List Service. Reference services are available at the public service desks in the libraries where the tangible collections are housed. MaryEllen Donathen, who works with depository technical services, serves as the designated depository coordinator while Edward Herman is the current government documents librarian specializing in public services. Lockwood Library is grateful for the leadership demonstrated by Karen Smith, who recently retired after serving as the government documents librarian for over 25 years.

Teaching people to use Government information is a focus of the library. Extensive pathfinders and class guides, in-depth reference assistance, and specialized instruction for classes and groups are all available. To add to this, the government documents librarian recently completed a series of videos and Web simulations, the goal of which is to encourage library users to think critically about government information. Ideally, these resources will be incorporated into university curricula.

Activities reaching beyond the library are also part of the library’s service focus. For example, being a State Data Center Affiliate since 1991, the library recently took the opportunity to liaise with the U.S. Census Bureau and regional planners and participate in the Local Updating of Census Addresses (LUCA) program. Through this program, library staff and regional planners conducted workshops for government officials about the importance of Census information and advertised LUCA to improve upcoming Census counts and data gathering.

The library is well-known in the depository community as the official service partner site of the Enhanced Shipping List Service. In 1998, the library became one of the first libraries to partner with GPO in the creation of the service, which is an application used by depository library staff to verify contents of shipments received through the FDLP and to print SuDocs publication labels. This recently renewed service partnership provides enhanced service to many Federal depository library personnel, who use the resource daily.

The library was also an early digitization grant recipient in 1997. The Government Documents Brochures and Pamphlets resource provided access to online and digitized copies of print ephemeral materials from 1997 to 2006. GPO routinely referred depository library personnel to this resource as a useful site for the general public. Now that fewer brochures and pamphlets need digitization, the library staff have moved on to other activities where they will reach a broader audience and have a bigger impact.

In fact, like many other libraries these days, the UB Libraries are working proactively to determine how best to manage resources and services while continuing to meet the Federal Government information needs of the community. The library personnel just completed a systematic 11-month long review in a Government Documents Review Task Force that involved representatives from various units throughout the Libraries. This evaluation involved a thorough review of the depository operation and resulted in development of a Federal Government Information Collection Development Policy, a new model for collection development involving librarian selectors for Federal agencies, as well as changes in item selections that reduced the current percentage selection rate by 20%.

With all of the activities accomplished in less than 50 years as a Federal depository library, we look forward to this depository’s continued service and active participation for many more years to come!