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Action Alert: Please Write For Nevada Docs Position

Our friends at The Gov Doc blog have put out an emergency appeal to help save the Nevada State Library’s Head of Government Publications.

All of us on the FGI Volunteer team support asking the Nevada State Library to reconsider its position.

Here is The Gov Doc post in its entirety. I’ll have a few comments after:

Greetings to all.

We hope everyone had a fun & refreshing Thanksgiving holiday. Ours were well spent with family and plenty of good food however we received some distressing news upon returning to work. We learned that the Nevada State Library and Archives has decided to eliminate the position, Head of Government Publications. The reason we are distressed is because this position is crucial for the capturing, cataloging, and dissemination of state publications and we fear that without the leadership that this position provides Nevada publications will slip into oblivion to the detriment of the people – the people whose taxes pay for this research and are therefore entitled to the opportunity to access this information.

Below is a letter of protest that you can cut & paste into a new message to send to Ms. Daphne DeLeon and Mr. Michael E. Fischer. Please feel free to edit the letter to personalize it or write your own. Don’t forget to sign your name at the bottom complete with your organization and title.

Here are their email addresses, please include both in the “Send To” line:

Daphne DeLeon, ddeleon@nevadaculture.org

Michael E. Fischer, mfischer@nevadaculture.org

One last thing, please send a blind copy of your email to Ian Campbell (icampbell@washoecounty.us) and Lisa Printz (lprintz@washoecounty.us).

Thank you and hopefully together we can make a difference,

Ian and Lisa

Attn: Daphne DeLeon, Division Administrator, Nevada State Library & Archive

Michael E. Fischer, Director, Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs

It was with shock and dismay that we learned about the Nevada State Library’s decision to eradicate the position, Head of Government Publications. And it is with the great concern stimulated by this decision that we are writing to request that the state reconsider what we believe to be a short-sighted decision that will negatively impact current and future Nevada residents’ access to critical information. When one considers that the federal government produces 70% of the world’s information it becomes apparent that federally funded information is invaluable and since tax-payers dollars purchase or support these research endeavors the citizens of this nation have a right to access this information. Much of the states’ research receives partial funding from the federal government and therefore is included in the figure (70%) given above. Compounding traditional problems of access to government funded research are the changes in the dissemination of this information to the populous. Due to advances in technology and in an effort to save money most government funded research is only available online therefore, capturing and cataloging this information for the purpose of retrieval are vital to the community’s information needs especially since governmental agencies are not obligated to maintain access to this information. So, much of this information is ephemeral in its availability unless someone captures and catalogs it. Currently, there is a phenomenal amount of previously released information that needs to be captured and cataloged in addition to the present research being released now and future research that will require capturing and cataloging for without this work preserving access to federal and state research will not be possible. While there are many individuals attempting to apply order to federal documents, there are far fewer that work towards capturing, cataloging, and disseminating state government publications. This position, Head of Government Publications, fulfills this role and provides much needed leadership in the enactment of the NRS 378.170 and for the state of Nevada in developing a Nevada state publications depository to ensure the permanent retention of state publications. We feel that this position, Head of Government Publications, serves a critical and vital gap in the public’s information needs and we therefore, strongly urge the Nevada State Library to reconsider this decision.

Thank you and sincerely,

As someone who participates in government virtual reference, I can assure our readers that having stuff online is NOT the same as being able to lay your digital fingers on it. Doubly so when that stuff isn’t actually online.

As someone who used to run a state’s document program, I can assure our readers that without someone whose primary role is state publications, a lot of stuff will fall through the cracks. This is based on the realization that a fair amount falls through the cracks even when there is dedicated staff.

Ian and Lisa didn’t say whether the docs duties currently assigned to the position were going to be parceled out to others or be eliminated. Either choice would be a bad one. Most libraries that I’m familiar with already have most librarians doing about two positions worth of work.

So if you care about government information, especially if you live in Nevada, I hope you will consider joining this letter writing campaign. If you’re familiar with the Nevada State Library, it would help if you could suggest some alternative cuts OR some alternative funding sources.

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