Why Myrin is full of government documents They’re not top-secret, but UC’s library is home to lots of federal papers

Photo courtesy of Ursinus Communications Myrin Library, your one-stop shop for Minerals Yearbooks

Sophia DiBattista

sodibattista@ursinus.edu

 

Myrin Library not only pro- vides us with books for research papers, but also receives and provides free access to federal government information. Since 1963, Ursinus College’s library has been a member of the Federal Depository Library Program, or FDLP.

The FDLP is a government- operated organization that distributes texts and data via books, CDs, DVDs, and electronic means. These texts include official government-issued documents and federal collections. Myrin Library collects documents about: Foreign Relations of the United States, Health in the United States, Journals of the House of Representatives, Minerals Yearbooks, Public Papers of the Presidents, Senate Journal, United States Code, United States Reports, plus series of Cultural Landscape Reports and Historic Resource Studies from the National Park Service. Kerry Gibson, Collection Management Librarian and Federal Depository Library Program Coordinator, discussed the history of Myrin becoming an FDLP library, the importance of having an FDLP library on campus, and other resources tied into the FDLP that are available to students and community members.

Ursinus became a member of the FDLP, Gibson said, because “the librarians at Myrin Library in 1963 were looking for a way to save money while building the library collection, and saw this program as a good, practical way to do so while benefiting Collegeville as well. The Library Depository Act was passed in 1962, to strengthen the Federal Depository Library Program, so I’m sure the passage of this federal statute also helped the librarians in making their decision to join the FDLP.”

Ursinus students experience many benefits of having an FDLP library on campus. Gibson says that Myrin is “able to pro- vide knowledgeable staff support and free access to federal government information for the Ursinus community as well as the general public in the fourth Congressional District.” She continued, “The print resources that we have collected and continue to collect Government Publishing Office (GPO) are free, so we have saved money from having to purchase them.”

The FDLP has many other libraries involved in separate communities as well. Gibson commented, “There are an estimated 1,150 Libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program. In Pennsylvania there are 43 selective libraries including Myrin Library and 1 Regional Library: the State Library of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.” These selective libraries contain only a portion of what the government publishes publicly, and some of these include Norristown Public Library, Brendlinger Library at Montgomery County Community College, and the Francis Harvey Green Library at West Chester University. A Regional Library collects everything that the government publishes. Gibson added, “The Regional Library oversees all of the selective federal depository libraries’ operational responsibilities in its region.”

Some of these responsibilities include hosting webinars for stu- dents and community members. Gibson discussed the educational aspect of the FDLP and how anyone can learn to access this information using the FDLP Academy. She said, “The FDLP Academy, provides access to we- binars for the Federal Depository Library Program community that I believe would be helpful for the Ursinus community to view, as well as the general public, as they help educate about the online Government information re- sources from various agencies.” The Academy can be found at located at https://www.fdlp.gov/ fdlp-academy. Some of these agencies Gibson mentions are NASA, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Bureau of the Census, the United States Geological Survey Library, and the National Library of Medicine.

If students are interested in exploring this resource, Kerry Gibson can show them how to access the school’s online data- bases.