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University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

Documents to the People: Celebrating 125 Years as a Federal Depository Library

Thomas Cooper Library (Mezzanine Gallery)
Jul 27, 2009 - Oct 31, 2009
On May 21, 1884, Senator M.C. Butler designated the University of South Carolina Libraries as a depository for Congressional publications. These were not the first federal government publications received by the University Libraries. In fact, the University Libraries had received many publications prior to this through gift, donation, and direct appeal to members of congress and federal agencies. Library records in 1858 indicate receipt of the Congressional Globe (predecessor to the Congressional Record) and Congressional Publications. This exhibit is in celebration of the University of South Carolina’s 125th Anniversary designation as a Federal Depository Library. There have been many changes in the University Libraries and the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) since 1884. Both saw slow and steady growth prior to World War II after which both grew rapidly through the 1980’s. Since the mid-1990’s information technology and the internet in particular created an information explosion. Just fifteen years ago Thomas Cooper Library would have received nearly 40,000 items from the Government Printing Office (GPO) annually. During 2008, the library received about 6,000 items from GPO. However, in 2008 the University of South Carolina Libraries provided access to tens of thousands of government reports and web pages through its catalog and databases. Also in 2008, through our regional depository library responsibilities the University Libraries added several thousand more publications to retrospectively fill gaps in our collections. Many of these publications come from the other nineteen (19) depository libraries that serve the people of South Carolina. As more and more information becomes available electronically the purpose of The University of South Carolina’s Regional Depository Library and the nineteen selective depository libraries in the state will be to continue providing – Information to the People.