Get the Scoop on the Government Information Department
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
October 10, 2007
Changes in the use of space at the Dimond Library have resulted in a reconfiguration
of the Government Information Department but not in a reduction of its
services. The department has also changed its name from Government Documents
to Government Information to better reflect its collections and services.
“So much of government information isn’t coming in physical form
now that there’s access to Web sites,” says Thelma Thompson, government
documents and maps librarian. “Tax forms, for example; people used to come
in for the forms. Now it’s almost all electronic.”
But that doesn’t mean fewer folks are seeking them out for assistance.
In fact, with government agencies putting more and more information online,
data is more abundant than ever, but documents are often still difficult to
find and use.
The Government Information Department, located on the main level near the IT
Support Center, provides access for the UNH community and the public to U.S
and Canadian information. Think of it as a specialized reference library that
receives questions on a wide range of subjects. The Library’s online
and “on the shelf” collections include subjects such as agriculture,
climate, crime, the economy, the environment, education, geology, legislation,
health, international relations, labor, population, regulations, space, trade
One recent inquiry was from someone who needed to know how many black women
had been lynched in the United States. Another sought information on U.S.-Turkey
relations after World War I. And yet another utilized the department’s
map room, where there are more than 60,000 maps, to find obscure villages in
Many inquiries involve statistics and numerical data. In addition to government
resources, members of the UNH community can access data from the Inter-University
Consortium for Political and Social Research. The department’s web site
contains information about its data services (http://www.library.unh.edu/govdocs/).
On Friday, Oct. 26, the department will celebrate 100 years of participation
in the Federal Depository Library Program. As part of the celebration there
will be exhibits on Level 1 and Level 3 of Dimond Library illustrating the
diversity of government documents and the role of depository libraries in providing
access to them.
The Government Information Department is open Monday – Friday from 8
a.m. to 4:30 p.m.