Table of Contents

  1. The Feds@the Library: Census 2000 and Tax Forms
  2. Canadian Government Information on the Internet
  3. FOIA in an Electronic Environment
  4. MLC Offering Training Sessions on Government Information on the Web
  5. Michigan Council of Federal Depository Libraries Minutes, September 9, 1998

(1) The Feds@the Library: Census 2000 and Tax Forms
MLA Program Report by Debbie Gallagher (Michigan Electronic Library)

Program Abstract: Ready for another season of tax forms? Want to learn more about how Census 2000 will impact your community? We'll hear from the IRs on their plans to improve services to libraries and learn more about the partnering program for Census 2000.

On Wednesday, October 21st, representatives from the IRS and Census Bureau spoke at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference in Grand Rapids. Partnerships programs with libraries, service to libraries and WWW access issues were discussed in a lively give-and-take session with Michigan librarians.

IRS & BPOL: Or what happened to B and PO?
Ms. Mary Tomala of the IRS Taxpayer Education Office in Detroit reviewed the Bank, Post Office and Library Program, a voluntary program for distributing IRS tax forms. Librarians in the audience quickly pointed out to Ms. Tomala that banks and post offices in many cities and towns in Michigan were no longer participating, leaving the public libraries to shoulder all the responsibility for forms distribution. One librarian remarked on passing a post office where a hastily scribbled window notice read "No forms--Go to the Library".

Ms. Tomala acknowledged that participation by banks and post office had waned or ceased in many areas of the country and that the IRS has "begun a dialogue with the USPS" to get tax forms back in the local post offices. The IRS has determined that so few people actually go in banks anymore that they are probably no longer a viable partner for the program.

Forms: To print or not to print?
The issue of managing tax forms in the library was the next topic of conversation. Ms. Tomala suggested that libraries start considering carrying fewer printed forms and experiment with print-on-demand from either the freely distributed IRS CD-ROM or the IRS WWW site. She suggested getting the core collection of forms only in print and offering patrons the choice of photocopying from reproducibles, printing from home or the library via the WWW site or printing from a public station at the library loaded with the CD-ROM.

Finally, Ms. Tomala reminded workshop participants of the special library hotline for ordering more forms and resolving glitches. Most librarians in the audience said they had good response from the hotline last tax season, receiving their forms very quickly and having their questions answered promptly. Ms. Tomala joked about the IRS "getting religion" as a result of the Senate hearings and the positive effect this had on the number of new hires in customer support and outreach programs like the BPOL.

IRS WWW: Fewer busy signals last year
In response to a survey distributed by MI-GODORT at the workshop, most librarians stated that they would continue to order the same number of printed forms despite the availability of forms via CD-ROM and the Internet. Many suggested that accessing, downloading and printing forms was still bothersome or confusing to patrons and required more work by the librarians than simply handing them a printed form. In other survey results, librarians responded unanimously that Internet access was much faster during the last tax season than in previous years. Most libraries offer the IRS CD-ROM either on a stand alone public terminal or networked throughout the library.

Census Bureau: Partnerships, partnerships
Mr. Vince Koontz returned to the MLA Annual Conference with updates on Census2000 programs and data products. Although the methodology for conducting the decennial census may still be up in the air, the programs to increase awareness and participation are entering the final phase and libraries will play a vital role in this area.

Readers of Govdoc-L will appreciate Mr. Koontz' opening joke about being as surprised as librarians when the new chief of the Census Bureau announced in 1997 that census questionnaires would be available "in all public libraries" in 2000. Census management had to do some hasty dialogue with libraries and librarians who inundated the Bureau with questions about the announcement.

Ready, Set, Go
Census2000 will involve hiring and training surveyors and assistance personnel, distribution of forms and providing in person assistance with filling out the forms and the Detroit Regional office will oversee a program to involve libraries all three phases.

First, the Library Partnership Program is asking libraries to allow the Census Bureau to distribute employment application forms in communities where the library is identified as being the most accessible public building for citizens. Secondly, in some communities the Census Bureau may request that the library provide space for interviewing prospective workers. Librarians in the audience were a little surprised by the pay ranges, from $8.00 - $12.00 hr. depending on the locale, especially since the Bureau will for the first time hire part-time help. More than a few in the audience suggested that a condition of letting the Bureau hire in the library be that they hire librarians first.

Forms: The Short and the Long of It
Once the personnel is hired and trained, libraries will be asked to participate in a "get-out-the-forms" program, providing forms for citizens to pick up at the library and space for Census personnel to assist citizens in filling out the forms and answering questions. Mr. Koontz stated that no decision has been made yet on whether to offer long forms at public places in addition to the short forms. Mr. Koontz thought that the request for space in libraries was a good indicator that both long and short forms would be publicly distributed.

Barbara Clayton, who MI-GODORT members know from several data workshops, will be the point person in Michigan for the library partnership program and Ms. Clayton encouraged librarians to call her at her new number, 313-259-1875, with questions and to volunteer for the program.

Just the Facts: Census Data in the Electronic World
Vince emphasized that Census2000 will differ significantly in the types and formats of data available. Librarians can expect new names for all the data resources (nothing surprising there). He pointed to the American Community Survey as an example of the future of Census data with emphasis on electronic access and print-on-demand.

One of the biggest concerns of librarians at the workshop was dollars – would librarians and the public have to pay to see census data? The answer for most data used by public librarians and requested by patrons is no. Only specialized data sets will be in the "third tier" of fee-based products.

Training the Trainer
The movement to electronic data products means most librarians will need to familiarize themselves with new data sets, formats and access tools. The need for training was evident in the responses to the survey distributed at the workshop. Following up on a survey on Michlib-L in 1997, Debbie Gallagher of MEL asked Michigan librarians if they would be interested in attending a MEL-sponsored half-day workshop on Census2000 data. All respondents expressed interest in a workshop, emphasizing the need for a training session aimed at public library user needs: ready reference questions, student projects, local government inquiries. Many respondents felt that data workshops tend to be aimed at researchers and academic environments and not the "quick and dirty" knowledge needed at the busy public library reference desk.

Mr. Koontz has agreed to work with MEL, MI-GODORT and MLA to prepare and conduct workshops on electronic census data. He suggested that the 1997 Economic Census will provide both a good preview of the data products and an opportunity for librarians to advise the Bureau before the release of Census2000 products. More information on the workshops will be announced in summer 1999.

Source: Debbie Gallagher, Michigan Electronic Library, 117D Hatcher North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1205; telephone: (734) 996-3181; e-mail: ; fax: (734) 994-1856 .

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(2) Canadian Information on the Internet
MLA Program Report by Robert Vettese (Grand Rapids Public Library)

Program Abstract: Are your users asking questions about Canada? This session will introduce you to important federal and provincial Internet sites where information about Canada can be found.

Jackie Druery gave an excellent presentation at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday, October 23, 1998. Jackie has worked at York University (Toronto, Ontario) for about five years as a Reference Librarian and Government Documents Bibliographer. Just like her American counterparts, Jackie was able to share anecdotes about the joys and occasional frustrations of working with Canadian Documents.

Jackie gave an overview on the Federal Depository System in Canada. In addition, she also mentioned that each province has its own depository system---and libraries may collect whatever provincial documents they want. York University is a 100% depository for Canadian federal documents as well as for Ontario provincial documents. By the way, there will be a new Canadian territory in 1999 called Nunavut---with many new documents available shortly. In fact, the web site for Nunavut is already in place at

Jackie next walked us through a number of web sites and described the information and data available at those sites. The National Library of Canada site, available in both English and French, does an excellent job in providing subject access to Canadian information, history, politics, and genealogy. This is especially useful if you are not aware of which Department publishes a document.

The Government of Canada Site Map at is valuable for history and general information on Canada. Legislative materials from the Federal Government, Provincial and Territorial Governments can be found at

Census information is available from the Statistics Canada site at The Canadian census is completed every five years ending in the numbers 1 and 6. The 1996 results are currently being released. The Canadian Government does not release as much information free as the US Government. Much is available for a fee, and this seems to be a controversial subject especially with libraries trying to provide public access to the census information. The 1901 census is the most recent census released by name and address. Check on the Statistics Canada site under THE DAILY for the latest CENSUS news releases. Key monthly and quarterly measures of economic performance for Canada and each Province are also available.

The premier site for Canadian business information is STRATEGIS at This information includes company information, links to the Federal Corporations Database, company directories, current business news, information by Industry Sector, research and statistical analysis, business laws and regulations, and human resource and training information. Check out the STRATEGIS Site Map.

Jackie closed her presentation with some travel information sites and a bibliography of important Canadian directories and Government and statistical sources. Everyone present appreciated this successful guide through Canadian sites on the internet.

Attached are lists of web sites provided by Jackie.


The following four sites provide information about Canada and links to sites (both government and non-government) where information about Canada can be found. Bookmark these four sites at your Reference Desk and you will have access to a considerable amount of information about Canada.

The National Library of Canada’s Canadian Information by Subject service provides links to information about Canada, arranged by subject, from Internet resources around the world. An inverted subject tree, based on the Dewey Decimal Classification System, is used as a subject arrangement. Links are provided to both government and non-government sites.

Also maintained by the National Library of Canada, this site provides links to Canadian federal and provincial government websites. In addition, links are provided to related government sites

This document, now in it’s 5th edition, is published by Anita Cannon, Reference Librarian, Mount Allison University. Provides comprehensive links to federal government information (by subject); provincial information (by province); municipal information (by province and municipality); and, other sites of interest.

Quick and easy links to information about Canada’s flag, economy, geography, prime ministers, people and symbols. Maintained by the Government of Canada.


Following are the web addresses for the homepages of the federal government, the ten provinces, two territories, and the newly created territory of Nunavut, which will officially come into existence in 1999.

Canadian Federal Government


British Columbia



New Brunswick

Newfoundland & Labrador

Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia


Prince Edward Island





Canadian Municipal Information Service:
Index of Canadian Municipalities Online





There are currently twenty-one government departments (and, of course, numerous other agencies, crown corporations, etc.) that make up the Canadian federal government. Links to all federal organizations are provided at

The specific web addresses for the twenty-one departments follow.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Index of Canadian Municipalities Online

Canadian Heritage

Citizenship and Immigration



Fisheries and Oceans

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Health Canada

Human Resources Development


Indian Affairs & Northern Development

Justice Canada

National Defense

National Revenue (Revenue Canada)

Natural Resources

Privy Council Office

Public Works and Government Services

Solicitor General


Treasury Board

Veterans Affairs

Source: Richard Vettese, Reference Specialist, Periodicals & Government Documents, Grand Rapids Public Library, 60 Library Plaza NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3093; telephone: (616) 456-4686; e-mail:; fax: (616) 456-3602.

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(3) FOIA in an Electronic Environment
Report by Sally Lawler (Wayne State University Library)

SEMCOG/Oakland Co./Wayne Co. held a workshop Friday, November 13, 1998, on "FOIA in an Electronic Environment". This workshop for local government officials was a wake up call for documents librarians. There is a bill (House Bill 6283) in the Michigan Legislature to revise a 1996 amendment to Michigan's FOIA. Michigan counties want to re-coup operating expenses for emerging GIS technology. User fees could be high because by law they can include pay back for creation of data, hardware, software, and system development.

It looks like government agencies will even be licensing their data with each other. This business mentality for electronic access is troublesome--those who can pay will have immediate access to data from their desktop; everyone else will have to go to the clerk's office and stand in line, or submit a FOIA request and wait, unless we speak up and advocate public access to local government data in libraries.

Each county will have to have an enhanced access policy in place to charge enhanced access fees. Also, they will need interagency agreements with each other and other entities. Wayne County is writing a model for inter agency agreements so that when the amendment is passed, other counties can more easily draft their own. GODORT of Michigan may want to discuss how to lobby for library interests, at the state level with this amendment or later at the county level, as policies and agreements are being written.

Source: Sally H. Lawler, Coordinator, Research Support Center, Purdy/Kresge Library, Wayne State University, 5265 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48202; telephone: 313-577-1603; e-mail:; fax: (313) 577-4172.

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(4) Michigan Library Consortium Offering Training Courses on
Government Information on the Web

The Michigan Library Consortium has recently released its training calendar for the first quarter of 1999. The following sessions are being offered for those interested in learning more about Government Information on the Web: Ann Sanders from the Library of Michigan will be the presenter for each session.

For information about what is covered in each session, as well as what other sessions are being offered, take a look at the MLC web training calendar at

Registration is possible via the MLC website at, or you can send an email message to, or complete an MLC workshop registration form and fax to 517/694-9303.

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(5) Michigan Council of Federal Depository Library Minutes,
September 9, 1998

Following are the minutes from the last Council meeting, in draft form. They will be presented for approval at the next regular meeting. Tish Kingaby, Recorder.

Call to Order: The Michigan Council of Federal Depository Libraries met, September 9, 1998 at the Library of Michigan. The meeting was called to order at 10:08 a.m. by Ann Marie Sanders, Chair.

Attending: Council: Paula Kaczmarek, Kelly Eastwood, Anne Birkam, Janet Schneider, Ann Marie Sanders. [Michael McDonnell conferred by speaker phone.]

Other: Suzanne Schneiderman, Tish Kingaby (recorder).

June 12, 1998 Minutes: The minutes, as amended, were unanimously approved by the Council.

Announcements from the Field: Sherry Engle is leaving Michigan Tech September 18 to take a position in Ohio; Bill Fleming has joined the serials records staff at U-M Hatcher; and Shawn Patterson has left U-D Mercy to take a position at Oakland University.

Plans for the 1999 Biennial Meeting: 17-18 February 1999: Ann Sanders distributed a list of the presentations for which some commitment had been made. These include Superintendent of Documents Fran Buckley and Dr. Warnick of the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information. Ms. Sanders said as both men were federal employees, they anticipated picking up their own expenses. Council worked on a preliminary agenda for the two day meeting. Details were decided as follows:

For the proposed Internet Access Issues presentation, Council agreed to a panel set-up, with discussion limited to documents; Ellen Richardson will address library privacy issues such as Freedom of Information Act, Ellis Right to Access which protects library employees from prosecution, and other Michigan laws. Suggestions for panel members included Sharon Bradley at Cooley, Margaret Leary at U-M, Nancy Whitmer at LM, and the regional depository librarians.

The patent/trademark and Detroit GPO bookstore presenters require guidance in content and length.

Ms. Sanders and Ms. Kingaby will work on producing the preliminary agenda; lunch costs; hotel information, etc. Ms. Sanders and Ms. Schneiderman will work on getting the conference information online.

Physical and Electronic Access Issues: Ms. Sanders said five libraries have access issues, which range from authentification of Internet users via individual accounts and passwords, to age and residency restrictions, to inappropriate signage or identification requirements in conflict with the FDLP mission. Council agreed that while specifics could not be included in the almost completed 1998 version of the State Plan, this issue could not be ignored for five years, and that it should be addressed. Anne Birkam will draft language for a statement to be discussed by the Council and Ms. Kaczmarek will appoint a committee to do likewise for GODORT. Statements from both organizations will then be forwarded to MLA for possible inclusion of this issue on their legislative agenda. In the meantime, although the regional librarians can provide information to libraries, the Council decided a statement signed by the Council would benefit libraries in need of a stronger guideline to present to institutional officials.

Final revisions, Michigan Plan for the Federal Documents Depository Library System: Council reviewed final recommended refinements to the proposed revised Plan. The Plan, as completed, and letter to Depository Library directors were proposed to be mailed by September 18, with a return ballot date of October 9, 1998. The Council decided that, in the event a director does not approve the plan, they should provide written reason. The letter to the directors will also include results of the ballot for election to the Council, replacing member Janet Schneider in 1999.

Next Meeting: The next meeting of the Council is planned for February 17-18, 1999, during the Annual Meeting.

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