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Bringing the Red, White, and Blue to You: Cook is Now a Federal Depository Library

New Faces, New Roles at Cook Library

Special Collections Reaches Out through Digitization

Award-Winning Author Mark Bowden to Visit Towson University for National Library Week

Bringing the Red, White, and Blue to You: Cook is Now a Federal Depository Library

subpagepic Cook Library was recently honored to be designated as a Federal Depository Library and has joined the ranks of 1,250 other Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) sites across the country. As a result of this distinguished designation, Cook Library now provides the Towson community with free access to over 53,000 government documents. The documents, which include hearings, legislation, reports, and other special works relating to the United States government and policy, are available online and accessible through links in the library's catalog. A reception commemorating this designation was held on September 19, 2011 and included presentations by dignitaries such as United States Congressman John Sarbanes, and William J. Boarman, the Public Printer of the United States.

The road to obtaining an official FDLP designation is a long one. Assistant University Librarian Patty Macdonald was instrumental in starting the process in 2009. There were three conditions that needed to be met to be eligible for FDLP status: free public access to materials, reference assistance for community as well as university users, and a willingness to coordinate collection building with other depositories. There is a limit to the number of depository libraries within a specific geographic region, and the process for acceptance is competitive, but luckily for Cook Library, there was an FDLP opening within our congressional district. Macdonald contacted Congressman John Sarbanes and asked for his support for Cook Library's application. Endorsements from Irene Padilla, the State Librarian followed, and a formal written petition was then submitted to the Government Printing Office (GPO).

The designation as a Federal Depository Library also comes with some benefits for the library and Towson University. According to Government Documents Librarian Carl Olson, it is good to have the GPO in your corner because you can always turn to them for assistance in finding a document or learning about new resources. Right now, the library is getting a small number of print items to be added to the library collection, and is striving to be as electronic as possible. "Our profile right now is very basic," reports Olson, "We are building it slowly and only accepting small amounts of paper documents."

Right now, the Government Information Subject Gateway on the library website showcases some of the digital volumes that comprise the Federal Depository collection. These include the digital versions of the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, and the Congressional Pictorial Directory. There will be approximately four additional databases, such as the Homeland Security Digital Library and the National Climatic Data Center, that are available only to FDLP members and will be added to the gateway. Look for further updates about the Federal Depository Library collection on the Cook Library website and blog.

Written by Lisa Woznicki

Albert S. Cook Library 8000 York Road • Towson, Maryland 21252 • 410-704-2461 •
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