News Release Archive

By: Sheliah Bennett, Communications Nova Scotia

There is an unmistakable feeling as you enter a library. It is a
combination of a peaceful stillness and an overwhelming sense of
the volumes of information contained within the building.

Among the many rows of books lining the shelves is a section
dedicated to government documents. Nova Scotia is one of seven
provinces which has a depository library system for its published
materials. The program began in 1987, and on average, there are
over 30 publications per month that range from annual reports and
statutes to discussion papers and pamphlets.

There are 11 regional and university libraries across Nova
Scotia, along with the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, that
receive all published materials produced within the Nova Scotia
government. There are also 21 other libraries in Nova Scotia
which are selective depository libraries. These libraries receive
a monthly listing of materials published by the government and
can then choose which publications they would like to receive.

The coordination of the depository system is administered
cooperatively through the Legislative Library and the Nova Scotia
Government Bookstore, Department of Business and Consumer
Services. The library is responsible for tracking and producing a
monthly list of all government materials that have been
published, while the bookstore distributes the materials to the

"We tried to set up full depository libraries in each region of
the province so the public can be sure they're going to have all
of the government's published material in their library," said
legislative librarian Margaret Murphy. "In the past, government
information was more centralized in Halifax and now we try and
spread it around the province so every Nova Scotian can access
this information."

One of the libraries which actively sought to get this program
established is the Dalhousie University Killam Library.
Dalhousie's documents librarian Shelagh Keene, was on the
committee which first approached the provincial government to
establish a depository system and feels this is an essential
system for Dalhousie. "As a research library we're supposed to
have a collection of Nova Scotian material. The depository system
ensures we get the current output of the government
automatically," said Ms. Keene. "As well, it certainly aids the
teaching part of the university because this material is an
adjunct to the teaching materials."

Ms. Keene said Dalhousie conducted a circulation count to find
the most heavily used collection. Results showed that of their
Canadian material the federal government collection was used
most, followed by that of the province of Nova Scotia.

Michael Colborne, information services coordinator for the
Halifax Regional Library, also believes the government's
depository system is very useful because it makes information
accessible to the public after the regular nine to five day. He
said people can go to a library on the weekend or during the
evening, instead of trying to track it down through a government
department where they are restricted to the information during
normal working hours.

He said most people are using the government documents for
everyday situations. For example, it might be someone wanting to
look at the Motor Vehicle Act to understand a ticket they
received or perhaps new legislation they want to know about. "It
really is people whose personal lives have been affected by
something to do with government and they come in looking for it."

Mr. Colborne believes programs such as the depository system
speed everything up and make it easier for everybody.
"Departments know that by participating in the program their
material is going to get out in the public libraries where all
kinds of people are going to be able to use it, and for
librarians, they can be assured that if something comes out,
chances are it's going to be part of the program," he said. "It's
a real symbiotic relationship where it benefits all sides


Contact: Sheliah Bennett  902-424-2698

trp                     Mar. 11, 1997 - 10 a.m.