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Bill Sudduth plays role in ASERL award

May 16, 2012 7:19 AM

USC Libraries' Bill Sudduth and his colleagues have created a program that recently won the 2012 ProQuest/GODORT/ALA Documents to the People Award.

The Collaborative Federal Depository Program (CFDP), part of the Association of Southeast Research Libraries (ASERL), develops and preserves comprehensive collections of government documents on a multi-state level. USC Libraries is part of ASERL.

The CFDP idea was originally conceived in 2007 and awarded an IMLS National Leadership Grant for Libraries in September 2009. The program is designed to transform federal depository library collections from general undefined and mostly un-cataloged collections into “centers of excellence” that focus services on a specific federal agency or topic.

“There is an assumption that there's a complete collection of government publications distributed by every agency in all libraries, and that’s not the case,” said Sudduth, head of Government, Information, Microforms and Newspapers, located on Level 5 in Thomas Cooper Library.

“Federal depository libraries simply cannot house such a complete collection, primarily because they face pressures including space issues for expanding user services, the realization that over 90 percent of current materials are available electronically, and retirements in the government information area are creating a loss of expertise,” Sudduth said.

“The goal for this program is for libraries to create a center where they can collect and provide expertise on an agency or subject area, and not have to do it all," he said. "These days, libraries are looking at putting together unique collections that fit their teaching and learning missions. This program saves time and helps the libraries build the collections they want to build.”

The three institutions currently involved in the project are the University of Kentucky, which is collecting Works Progress Administration (WPA) documents; the University of Florida, which has committed to collecting items about the Panama Canal Zone; and USC, which is focusing on the U.S. Department of Education since 1979.

“These three libraries provide an excellent model of the possibilities of what issues libraries will face in developing their own centers of excellence,” said Sudduth, who has served on the original ASERL oversight steering committee for the project since its inception. “We have a group of libraries in the Southeast that are also committed to becoming centers in the future.”