The GODORT of Michigan: An Example of Successful Statewide Library Staff Collaboration

Are you creating or enhancing a local, statewide, or regional staff interest group? Many Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Forecast Study State Focused Action Plan respondents included this activity as one of their goals. Several states have active groups that may provide you with ideas and best practices. Michigan, for example, has a long-standing and productive collaboration in the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) of Michigan. It has supported Federal depository libraries within Michigan for many years.

Founded in 1978, GODORT of Michigan supports information sharing, communication, collaboration and training among library staff for all levels of Government information. Since almost all Federal depository libraries in the state are represented by membership within the GODORT of Michigan, the organization serves as a primary resource for all of Michigan’s Federal depository libraries.

Members of the GODORT of Michigan:

  • Meet in person twice each year. The full day meeting incorporates training and information sharing.
  • Maintain a daily blog, the Red Tape Blog.
    • Jon Harrison, Social Sciences Coordinator at Michigan State University’s Main Library, serves as the editor.
  • Lead special projects, such as coordination of the recently completed FDLP State Forecast Questionnaire and State Focused Action Plan.
  • Highlight new and notable Government publications and online resources on a monthly basis.
  • Facilitate communication on important issues.
  • Greet and share expertise with new depository library personnel.
  • Honor members and other Government information professional with two awards, a lifetime achievement award, and a scholarship.
  • Celebrate and promote Michigan libraries providing Government information.
  • Maintain a wiki and Web site with informational resources, including access to issues of Red Tape when it was a newsletter.

Members of the GODORT of Michigan always reach out to and involve non-member Federal depository library staff in issues relating to the FDLP. In addition, since some members of the GODORT of Michigan are not at Federal depository libraries, the GODORT of Michigan helps extend the reach of Federal depository libraries to other libraries within the state.

Collaboration is Valuable

Networking through the GODORT of Michigan has several advantages.

GODORT of Michigan has “a lot of value for govdoc librarians getting together, having a forum to learn and hear what is going on in the state”.

Current President Catherine Morse, Government Documents Librarian, Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan.

Regarding networking, “every library does this or should do this to connect with their peers.”

Past President Bruce Sarjeant, Reference/Documents and Maps Librarian, Olson Library, Northern Michigan University.

As no single depository library may meet all needs, knowing where to turn within Michigan for more information or assistance is always advantageous to each individual library. Regular communication helps GODORT of Michigan members learn more about the expertise and collections at other libraries, and in person meetings help build strong relationships.

A Model for Other States

GODORT of Michigan is a strong Government information library staff group that offers training programs and regularly promotes information sharing, communication, and collaboration between Federal depositories statewide. As an association with a long history, GODORT of Michigan may serve as a model for successful collaboration in other states. For all past, current, and future activities involving Federal Government information, the U.S. Government Printing Office appreciates the activities of the GODORT of Michigan.