Hi All -
I'm writing as the chair of the DC/SLA consultation committee and am looking for your input.
I just received a call from one of the librarian's at the US Int'l Trade Commission Law Library. (Message below). . Since everything is on the Internet and free, she's facing a dismantling of the law library in favor of office space for staff attorneys. The business library has been compressed many times over and currently has a former public librarian in charge - mainly throwing out items.
She is most concerned about the historical items, especially statistics, given that the business library started in 1917.
She's passed on my name to her Director of Administration so that he can talk to someone "not emotionally involved".
Does anyone have experience with government libraries? My experience is more in nonprofit or for-profit special libraries. The arguments are similar (re: the Internet only contains x% of information, books are still useful, etc.) but I don't know the gov't lingo. If anyone has a tried-and-true set of talking points handy, that'd be great too.
Also, on an administrative note, please let me know if you want to remain on the committee for the upcoming term (through Dec. 2006 as SLA aligns its budget and activity years). If you know of anyone else that would be interested, please pass on names.
Becky Milton | Sr. Information Specialist
Information Resource Center, a member of ITG's Knowledge Management Team
email: | phone: 202-587-3536 | fax: 202-777-5100
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Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 10:20 AM
To: Milton, Becky
Subject: Follow-up to phone conversation
Thanks for talking to me this morning. I've passed your name along to Steve McLaughlin our Director of Administration. I also passed your name along to Wendy Willis the Reference Librarian in our Business Library. She is the best one to answer questions about users and reference questions.
The Business Library was established in 1917 when the Commission was established. It focuses in on business, statistics economics and trade. Besides meeting the needs of the agency which has approximately 300 people, it is open to the public.
Currently there are eight people on staff. Two are contractors that help with the purchasing and administration. Of the remaining six, two are librarians one of which is a reference librarian and one a cataloger. Three are technicians and one is an editor who was transferred to the library when the editorial staff was dismantled. The "Director" of the library is a former commodity analyst who worked on the agency's web page for a while. The Business Library has been reconfigured to smaller space at least three times since we moved to this location 17 years ago. Because of this reconfiguration I'm not sure what the size of the collection is.
The Law Library was established in 1972 when the Office of the General Counsel started to grow. There are currently 29 attorneys in the OGC. There is an Administrative Law Judges Office with four ALJs and five staff attorneys. There is an office with 15 patent attorneys that is separate from the OGC. There are additional attorneys scattered through out various offices in the Commission. Even some of our presidentially appointed Commissioners are attorneys. The Law Library is currently open to the public and there are two of us on staff. Our focus is US interpretation of trade laws, plus we focus in on the World Trade Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement and other such trade agreement issues. The Law Library has approximately 10,000 volumes which is a combination of reporters, treaties, journals and loose-leafs. We also subscribe to WESTLAW and other on-line services. The electronic products are not available to the public - just the print products.
Each library does its own purchasing and cataloging and we try not to duplicate holdings in the libraries. The one thing that is duplicated is agency publications. The agency publishes its own reports and studies. The agency is going to electronic format where possible - but there is quite a bit of historical information that I don't think will ever be converted. The agency's own historical publications are the items that are hard to find elsewhere.
Following the link to the agency's web page - http://www.usitc.gov
This doesn't give you numbers for reference questions or visitors - hopefully it will give you a basic idea of the two libraries.
U.S. International Trade Commission