William T. Young Library

 HOURS for July 6, 2020:  

Federal Government Information Services

Centennial Celebration

Federal Depository icon

The UK Libraries celebrated the centennial of our service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky as a Federal Depository Library in November, 2007. See the invitation for more details. During our celebration, a visual presentation was available for viewing that chronicled our depository's development. A selection of photographs that were taken throughout the celebration activities can be viewed here as well.

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Tracy Campbell, Co-Director of the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, spoke to us about the value of government publications in conducting historical research. In addition, Cindy Etkin (GPO), Wayne Onkst (State Librarian) and Terry Birdwhistell (UK Libraries) made remarks regarding the value of our depository collection and services to the Commonwealth.

In recognition of this milestone in the library's history, an exhibit was created in the Atrium of Young Library. It includes examples of federal government publications from all ten decades of our history as a depository. The exhibit will be in place until early 2008, and photographs of the exhibit cases can be viewed via this website through March, 2008.

Two radio spots were produced as a result of our celebration, one for "UK at the Half" and one for WUKY's "Focus on UK." Click on either of the spots' titles to listen!


Depository Timeline

Depository History

The UK Libraries is one of 43 land-grant university libraries across the nation that are celebrating their 100th year as a Federal Depository Library with a land-grant depository designation. We offer the general public, the UK community, and citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky free access to Federal Government information in any format provided through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The collection consists of almost three million books, microforms, maps, posters, CDs, and videotapes, as well as access to many online databases, e-books, e-journals and websites.

We were designated as a land-grant Selective Federal Depository Library in 1907 because of our land-grant college status. This designation meant that we were able to "select" materials to receive free of charge that were published by Federal Government agencies. Materials had been arriving from the Federal Government as early as the late 1890s, but there was no specialized staff to provide service for them, and no library in which they could be housed.


In fact, when Miss Margaret I. King became UK's Registrar in 1905, she found in her office "a sizable number of 'misc.' volumes which one might regard as the vague nucleus of a collection of U.S. and state Documents." In 1909, a library finally opened in a building financed by Andrew Carnegie, and Miss King was designated the first librarian in 1912.


In 1917, Miss King included government documents in her collection development policy, and reported that of the 14,915 volumes in the Central Library, 3,734 were U. S. Government documents. The 1909 building was soon outgrown, and a new, larger facility opened in 1931. It is fortunate that a larger library had been built, since the depository collection's size got a big boost in 1933 when we were offered over 4,000 Federal depository volumes from the library at Centre College. Only 14 years later, in 1947, the depository collection was reported to contain 35,703 volumes.


Twenty years later, in 1967, we were designated as a Regional Depository. This change in designation meant that we began to receive all materials distributed via the Federal Depository Library Program, and were charged with keeping those materials permanently. Being a Regional also brought with it administrative responsibilities for the other Federal Depositories in Kentucky. A separate Government Publications Dept. was created in May, 1968, to assist users with this rapidly growing collection, and to provide service to the other Federal Depositories in the state.


The holdings in our Federal Depository collection are accessible from any library in the Commonwealth via the Kentucky Virtual Library’s online union catalog. Materials located at UK may then be borrowed by anyone through their local public library. Assistance with the use of these materials is available from the Reference staff at UK’s Young Library’s Reference Desk.