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NMSU Library to celebrate government documents' centennial

The New Mexico State University Library will celebrate more than 100 years of service to the residents of New Mexico's Second Congressional District as a Federal Depository Library with a series of special programs.


Because of southern New Mexico's extensive contribution to U.S. military endeavors, two of the events will focus on the unique role of the National Guard in New Mexico's military history.

A talk, "Ugly Duckling to Swan: Federal Government Documents for the Public User," will be presented by government documents and maps librarian Dorothy Ormes at 3 p.m. Monday, March 29, in the Terrace Gallery of the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library. Ormes will demonstrate online sources of government information including the FDSys portal, the American Memory Project Web site and "Ben's Guide for Kids." She will also discuss unique resources found at the NMSU Library.

Award-winning NMSU authors Louis R. Sadler and Charles Harris will give a talk at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, on the second floor of NMSU's Branson Library. Sadler and Harris have collaborated on several publications about the history of the Borderlands and have used the government documents collection extensively in their work researching New Mexico history and the history of the militia, which later became the New Mexico National Guard. Special guest Kathy Brazee Bayer of the U.S. Government Printing Office will introduce the program with a discussion of the history and role of the Federal Depository Library Program.

The celebration culminates with a lecture on the history of New Mexico's National Guard by Lt. Gen. (retired) Edward Baca at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 9, on the third floor of Zuhl Library. Lt. Gen. Baca comes from a New Mexico military family that dates back to the Conquistadors. He served as the first Hispanic leader of the National Guard during the Clinton administration. He will show excerpts of a film that he narrated for the History Channel, "Heroes Hispanos," which highlights the unique contributions of Hispanic Americans to U.S. military endeavors. He will also talk about his own experiences and family history in New Mexico.

Baca will be introduced by David Melendrez, NMSU's Military Coordinator for Student Success. The event ties in to NMSU's military outreach initiative as well as New Mexico's commemoration of the Bataan Death March.

As a land-grant university, NMSU received its depository status in 1907, and the NMSU Library has federal publications that date back to the mid-1800s. One of more than 1,200 Federal Depository Library Program libraries in the U.S., the NMSU Library currently receives 64 percent of all federal government documents published each year. These are made available at no charge by the U.S. Government Printing Office with the stipulation that free and open access to the materials is provided to the residents of New Mexico's Second Congressional District.

Ormes encourages everyone to join the NMSU Library in celebrating free access to federal publications and their right as citizens to freedom of information here in New Mexico.

In addition to the programs, the celebration will feature displays of unique historical government publications in Branson Library. Library staff members will also take students from local schools on tours of the government documents and maps unit and conduct a scavenger hunt with prizes for the best student researchers.

For more information contact Ormes at (575) 646-4385 or ormes@lib.nmsu.edu.