Kent Library Celebrating Century of Service in Federal Depository Library Program

LOC-KentKent Library at Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate a century of service in the Federal Depository Library Program on Friday, Dec. 9.

The program offers government materials of historical interest and online government resources to the public. The event is scheduled for 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Sadie’s Place, near the south entrance to the library.

Marie Concannon, Missouri Regional Depository Coordinator, will present a plaque from the Government Printing Office in honor of the centennial, and visitors may find more information on the designation in a display case next to the Periodicals Counter.

Cake will be served, and giveaways will be available. The public is invited.

Efforts to place government materials with universities, libraries, and learned societies date back to 1813, reflecting the uniquely American view that the power of government is vested in the people, and requires an informed and engaged citizenry. To that end, in 1860 the Government Printing Office was established as a part of the legislative branch, and was given responsibility for administering the Federal Depository Library Program. Under the authority of Title 44 of the United States Code, the depository program continues to serve as the vehicle for getting official government information into the hands of the general public, and preserving it for future use. The motto of the program is “Information to the People.”

“The program offers a treasure trove of wonderful materials that are available to the public,” said Pat Willingham, associate professor and Depository Coordinator in Kent Library.

Each congressional district is allowed two congressionally designated depository libraries that agree to receive and preserve the materials, and to make them available to the public. The initial designation for this region went to St. Vincent’s College, where it remained for 40 years. In 1916, Louis Houck worked with Congressman Joseph Russell to get the designation and the collection transferred to the Third District Normal School, arguing, in part, that because St. Vincent’s was a private school, public access was limited, Willingham said. As the Normal School grew into what is now Southeast Missouri State University, the depository collection also has grown and transitioned from a traditional collection to a blended collection of tangible and digital resources ranging from statutes and regulations to games, posters, and educational materials at all levels and for all disciplines.