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Library Marks 50 Years as Depository

Lydia Olson Library is marking the 50th anniversary of its official designation as a Federal Depository Library on Aug. 5, 1963. Under the sponsorship of the late Michigan Sen. Phillip Hart, Olson Library became the second depository library in the then-11th Congressional District (after Michigan Technological University) and one of four state libraries added to the program that same year. Olson Library has since received and offered official government information to Upper Peninsula citizens. Available material includes laws, treaties, tax forms, maps, studies, statistics and reports.

The Federal Depository Library Program originated in 1813 with the distribution of Congressional documents to historical societies, a handful of universities and state libraries. Managed by the Government Printing Office, this program has since expanded the number of participating libraries to more than 1,200 (42 in Michigan).

“The FDLP has been going through changes recently with the proliferation of online publications and the near elimination of paper or physical products,” wrote Bruce Serjeant (AIS-Library). “Print, microfiche, CD ROMS and DVDs have given way to publications residing on a server elsewhere. Many libraries are questioning their reasons for remaining in the program while others are concerned with the future preservation and responsibility of what has been published in the past and what is published digitally now.  The widespread availability of Internet documents and publications belies the fact that these are not as dispersed, nor preserved, as their print counterparts once were. What resides in hundreds of libraries across the country in physical form is preserved by sheer numbers; this cannot be said for digital publications.”

A display has been set up in Olson Library highlighting a small portion of the FDLP collection. For more information on the Government Printing Office and the Federal Depository Library Program, visit www.gpo.gov/libraries.