When I started here, 21 [GULP!] years ago, who bought what was a mish-mash.
I spent a couple of years trying to find out who had what. I did this by
encouraging employees to let us order their publications. We prepared the
requisitions, tracked the orders, AND funded them, too.
I added a section to the agency's Admin Manual that the library would fund
publications only if the recipient was willing to share it if asked. This
system worked quite well. We were able to save money because we knew who
had what. By the late '80s, we bought about 90% of all publications
agency-wide. Then funding became a problem. I remember one year creating a
form memo saying that we couldn't buy a specific title for them, and
providing the price and the publisher information so that they could order
it themselves. Most didn't bother, and I found in this fact vindication of
my judgment in what employees actually needed.
In the early 1990s, at the behest of upper management, I was required to
prepare a list of every publication we ordered. Bureaus, I think, felt that
we had "ratted them out" by reporting what we had bought for them. They
quit asking us for so much and began ordering their own materials.
Today, we only handle approximately 40% of agency publications. This is (to
my way of thinking), their loss. For example, I no longer order rider items
(except the yearly GPO Open Requisitions)for everyone.
Kay Collins, Head Librarian, US Railroad Retirement Board, Chicago
From: peggytz [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 6:37 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Publications Acquisitions in Government Agencies?
A quick survey - our agency's publications procurement process has always
been centralized but we're reviewing this policy. I'd like to know how
other government agencies obtain publications. Thanks in advance for your
Does your library provide books and serials acquisitions for your agency?
If so, does the library have the budget to procure or does each component
If your library does not provide this service, how does the rest of the
agency purchase books and serials? - Is this a logistics responsibility?
Does the library provide links to books and serials vendors? I'm
especially interested in serials and newspapers.