UK celebrates 100th anniversary of federal library

By Katie Bush

From card catalogs to computers, libraries on campus have changed over the past century nearly as much as the students have.

UK Libraries is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of a federal depository library at UK with a celebration and plaque dedication tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the W.T. Young Library.

The 15 libraries on UK’s campus house nearly three million books, maps, microforms, posters, CDs and videotapes that have all been provided free of charge by the government.

As the regional depository of the state, UK receives one of each of the publications that the government produces. Twenty other libraries throughout Kentucky are federal depositories, but they choose what publications they receive. As the regional library, UK plays a special role.

Tomorrow, following the plaque dedication, UK history professor Tracy Campbell will present a speech entitled “Democracy’s Archive: The Importance of Government Documents to the Historical Record.”

“We are responsible for managing the entire system across the state,” said Sandra McAninch, UK’s regional depository librarian. “We receive whatever materials the government chooses to send, and if any of the other libraries want to get rid of anything, they send them to us.”

Members of the UK community are not the only ones who benefit from the Federal Depository, McAninch said.

“Researchers, genealogists, anyone who wants to know about a certain topic come here,” she said. “Since some of the items are found online, anyone in the nation can find out if we have a certain source.”

Items dated prior to 1970 are not in the online catalog, McAninch said, and are sometimes difficult to find.  Anyone needing help finding information should go to the reference desk on the second floor of the W.T. Young library.

“They will look in the paper indexes of the library and should be able to help you find the items,” she said.

In addition to tomorrow’s celebration, an exhibit of some of the government publications found at UK will be on display until Nov. 16 in the W.T. Young Library atrium near the Rose Street and University Drive entrances.

“I didn’t even know UK had anything like this,” said psychology sophomore Bev Borum. “I usually stay away from the ‘government publication’ part of the library, but the next time I have to do any research, I’m definitely going to see what they have.”