NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
DECEMBER 1998

Table of Contents

  1. S. 2288 UPDATE: CONGRESS FAILS TO ENACT TITLE 44 REFORMS
  2. TOP TEN SUGGESTIONS FOR DEPOSITORY LIBRARIANS
  3. DON'T PANIC YET: A 2000 CENSUS TIDBIT


(1) S. 2288 UPDATE: CONGRESS FAILS TO ENACT TITLE 44 REFORMS;
ISSUE WILL RETURN IN THE 106TH CONGRESS

Note: The following was adapted from an update by Daniel O'Mahony, a member of the ALA Committee on Legislation and chair of Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy. For more information about IAWG, go to http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/GODORT/iawgpage.html.

The 105th Congress will conclude without passing much-needed reforms to Title 44, the law governing public printing, procurement, and dissemination. Members of Congress, spurred on primarily by some information technology and private publishing groups, defeated efforts to enact S. 2288, the Government Publications Reform Act of 1998. However, this issue will return in the next Congress.

Not only did the 105th Congress fail to meet its own most basic goals for Title 44 reform -- resolve the constitutional problem of the Joint Committee on Printing and ensure permanent public access to government publications regardless of format -- but it undercut the existing oversight structure by de-funding the JCP after December 31, 1998. According to the latest legislative branch appropriations information available, the JCP will exist after December 31 only as a "virtual" committee, with no assigned staff, operating out of the offices of the House Committee on House Oversight and Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

As the final days and hours of the session were winding down this week, the "last hope" strategy for enacting S. 2288 was to attach all or part of the bill as an amendment to the omnibus spending bill being developed by congressional leaders and the White House. The agreement on the omnibus spending package announced on Thursday, October 15 does not include any provisions to reform Title 44 or improve public access to government information. Congress is expected to pass the spending bill no later than Monday, October 19.

Thanks to all library advocates who responded to alerts and worked to support S. 2288. Your help will be needed again when this issue returns in the 106th Congress.

Source: ALAWON, Volume 7, Number 129, October 16, 1998.

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(2) Top Ten Suggestions for Depository Librarians:
Departing Reflections by Peggy Walker

  • Remove the rubber bands and shrink wrap from your documents. Should you have an inspection, no matter if you have only one rubber band or forget to remove one shrink wrap, it will be discovered.

  • Keep a sense of humor. Documents librarianship is as good as it gets. Remember these three sayings:
  • Enjoy documents. They are so cool. Look at them when you process them. You are at the threshold of a transition stage for libraries and the library profession. You are at the start, make the most of this gift of being there at the beginning.

  • Visit your congressional representative (yeh, even your senators). It sounds tough, but just go in there and say "I'm from your federal depository library and I am here to help your constituents". It gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment and a real plus to your profession.

  • Network with your closest depository libraries (a bonus of helping each other even if it adds up to nothing more than commiseration).

  • Keep in touch with your regional ( help them help you).

  • Read the postings on GOVDOC-L (even try your hand at answering some of the questions). Don't forget to reflect on some of the discussion topics (it helps refine your skills).

  • Remember the Big Picture - documents to the people; let this guide you.

  • Join GODORT (yeh, it may cost big bucks to join ALA, but you will be supporting your documents colleagues and yourself ). So much in the documents world that has been beneficial has come either directly or indirectly from GODORT. Training sessions, GODORT handout, networking with fellow documents librarians, problem solving--so much has come from GODORT members that you may not be even aware of GODORT's positive influence in make your documents life easier.

  • Read the instructions ( read the Federal Depository Library Manual, the Instructions to Depository Libraries, the Administrative Notes, AskLPS especially FAQs &News and WEBTech Notes). These are the "how to" manuals, it's there. It will make your documents life so much easier.

    Note: Peggy signs her reflections as "soon to be superseded" since she will be retiring soon.

    Source: Margaret S. Walker, Documents Dept, Florida Atlantic University Library, Boca Raton, Fl 33431; e-mail: walker@fau.edu; phone: (561) 297-3788; fax: (561) 297-2105; GOVDOC-L, December 17, 1998.

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    (3) Don't Panic Yet: A 2000 Census Report Tidbit

    All state data centers are gearing up to provide more support to their customers because of DADS. One major reason is that Census plans to use the Internet system as a substitute rather than as an added distribution tool, cutting back significantly on the number of printed reports issued and on their own pre-aggregated and summarized data records.

    In 1990, for example, Census put out five reports with hundreds of tables for each state. For the 2000 census, it will produce one basic report with 80 summary tables and will drop printed reports on metropolitan areas, urban areas, congressional districts and census tracts. Thus, for example, officials looking for statistics on race or Hispanic origin will not find them tabulated at lower than the state level. "To get that data for a specific geographic area, you'll have to go to either DADS or a state data center," a Census official said.

    Source: Mapping the National Identity: States Brace for Year 2000 Census, http://www.civic.com/pubs/1998/november/civ-cover-11-98.html, an article by Heather Hayes appearing in Civic.Com.

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