Government Documents and Microforms

History of the LSU Federal Depository Library

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The LSU Libraries is one of 51 Regional Federal Depository Libraries located throughout the country. As a Regional Depository, the library receives all the government publications which are distributed by the Superintendent of Documents to depository libraries. The bulk of the Depository collection is located in Room 53, MiddletonLibrary, LSU Libraries, on the Louisiana State University campus. The reference collection and all of the publications distributed through the Internet are available in the Reference Services Area, Room 141, Middleton Library.

Reference assistance for government information is also available in Room 141, Middleton Library. The Depository's map collection is housed in the Cartographic Information Center in the Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex.

The LSU Libraries became a depository for United States Government Publications in 1907. In the early 1960's, when Federal Legislation was passed creating a new type of comprehensive depository service, the library became one of two Regional Depositories in the state of Louisiana. Louisiana Tech's Prescott Memorial Library serves the northern portion of Louisiana, and LSU's Depository serves the southern portion of the state.

The present Federal Law governing Regional Depositories requires the Government Documents Department of the LSU Libraries to receive and retain at least one copy of all Government publications made available to depositories, either in print, microform, or CD-ROM format (except those authorized to be discarded by the Superintendent of Documents). In addition to these materials the Documents Department is currently a depository for materials distributed to libraries by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and is a Patent and Trademark Depository Library. The Department also houses an extensive collection of publications from the Department of Energy and its predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission. From World War II until 1970 the Atomic Energy Commission reports were received as AEC depository items. Over 150,000 AEC microforms in this collection plus six hundred linear feet of AEC hard copy documents are a unique resource in the region.

As a Regional, the Government Documents Department provides interlibrary loan, reference service, and assistance for regular depository libraries in the disposal of unwanted Government publications as provided by law. Some travel is involved since Regional librarians are expected to consult with and visit depositories in their area when problems arise.

The Regional Depository serves the University community, businesses, industry, governmental agencies and the general public in the area. To provide this service Federal statute requires that every effort be made to insure that the depository collection is used. Periodic reports to the Superintendent of Documents include a statement to the effect that no person has been refused use of Government publications in the collection.

Although the LSU Libraries has been a Depository Library since 1907, it has a retrospective collection dating back to 1777. It continues to be a goal of the Libraries to have a comprehensive retrospective collection to serve the research needs of the citizens of Louisiana. The Libraries has augmented the depository collection through the purchase of finding aids available through commercial vendors. In 1987, catalog records for the government publications held by the library from 1976 forward were added to the Libraries' online catalog.