Monday, October 22, 2007

The Wonderful World of Gov Docs

As you are all probably well aware the government produces a lot of paper. And because the Bangor Public Library is part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) we get some of that paper. They send us reports, studies, brochures, CDs, DVDs, microfiche, and a lot more.

The FDLP was created in 1813 to keep the public informed by distributing documents from all three branches of government to libraries throughout the country. Today there are over 1,250 FDLP Libraries spread across all 50 states, the District of Colombia, and Territories. It is administered by the Government Printing Office.

So What Can You Get from Government Documents?

There is the stuff you would expect to find like the Federal Register which is the daily publication that contains notices and announcements from government agencies. There is the Congressional Record which lists the proceedings of the House of Representatives and the Senate. We also get the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications which lists all the government publications available for purchase.

Something to keep in mind when you are planning your next vacation the government also produces materials to promote its parks and recreation areas. To the left is an example of brochure put out by the National Park Service to promote its New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. We also have the brochures for The Lewis and Clark National and state Historical parks, The Pony Express National Historic Trail, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuges, and many others.

The government also sends us quite a bit of historical material as well. To the right is a study produced by the Naval Historical Center on naval air operations during the Korean War. It also includes a lot of great maps and photographs.

Government Documents are also a good source for paper topics. Lets say you have to write a paper on Hurricane Katrina. All the committees created to investigate the aftermath of the hurricane produced reports. Below are the covers of the reports produced by the Office of the President (left) and the report produced by the Senate (right). Comparing and contrasting these two reports or others like them would make a great paper.

So Where Are These Gov Docs?
They are located on the second floor in the room to the right of the Stairwell Gallery near the periodical back issues and the bathrooms.

And what, you may ask, do I do if I want something produced by the government the Bangor Public Library does not have? Easy! Fogler Library at the University of Maine Orono is the Regional Federal Depository which means they get almost all the materials produced by the government. These can be interlibrary loaned. If you don't know how to do this just ask a reference librarian.

As always we love to hear from you. Any questions or comments post them to the blog or email me at

See you around the library

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Bangor Public Library

Bangor Public Library
Bangor Public Library,
145 Harlow Street,
Bangor ME 04401