University of South Dakota University Libraries

The University Libraries at the University of South Dakota (USD) are the subject of the Federal Depository Library Spotlight for September 2010.

"A Reading Room, for proper intellectual and entertaining reading, which will be provided in the Academy Building, and which the faculty and pupils will furnish with daily, weekly and periodical literature by voluntary contributions, and which will be subject to their own regulations."

Statement from the university’s first catalog of 1882.

The university hired its first librarian in 1886 and was designated as a depository in 1889. From these beginnings, the libraries at USD and its Federal depository collections and services have grown and evolved. Using communication tools such as a Web site based on LibGuides, blog entries, podcasting, and RSS feeds, the libraries and the depository maintain and expand the use of Government information both in the university and statewide.

Depository Coordinator Diane Frigge has created a Federal and State Government Information Web page, accessible by clicking on the depository eagle emblem on the libraries’ homepage. One of the subject guides, U.S. Government Information, includes a wide range of information sources, starting with American FactFinder and continuing through to the White House. The guide covers both public databases and subscription-based services, covering the full spectrum of Federal Government information. Diane Frigge has also created a page on “How a Bill Becomes a Law” with a tab named “Sources for Kids” containing both Ben’s Guide to “How Laws are Made” and Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill.”

The depository promotes government information and its use through various channels. USD also boasts a “Library News blog” which can be tracked using an RSS feed. Diane Frigge has also participated in a University of South Dakota Podcast concerning the 2010 U.S. Census and is planning further podcasts on the city of Vermillion and Clay County.

While the depository has embraced various Web-based tools, it retains a large print collection, and much of the Government information reference desk’s work focuses on Congressional documents. The following are but a few examples of how students use the print collection:

  • USD Law School students research legislative intent on current and retrospective issues as far back as the Civil War.
  • School of Business MBA students have engaged in cost benefit analyses. Hearings, the Congressional Record, and Committee Reports, were crucial for this project.
  • Students often investigate topics of regional interest, including smoking legislation and motorcycle helmet safety legislation

A high percentage of Law School, Medical School, and Health Sciences graduates remain in South Dakota. These USD alumni make use of the Government Documents collection as they move through their professional careers. Based on these needs, the selective depository collection has been built and maintained and represents an aspect of the depository’s commitment to ongoing public access to Government information.

The Depository at the University Libraries has taken advantage of opportunities for outreach and promotion afforded by the Internet. An Academic Commons will be built in the fall of 2010 on the first floor of the library. When combined with the adjacent Muenster University center, which holds student activities, student services, dining, and bookstore services, this will create a service and activity-rich environment increasing traffic and opportunities to the libraries. The libraries are planning on using this increase to raise the profile of the 120-year-old depository.

The GPO would like to thank the staff of University of South Dakota University Libraries for their continuing commitment to Government information.

Depository Library Spotlight

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