Depository Spotlight: Texas State University – San Marcos, Albert B. Alkek Library

Sixty-two years ago, alumnus Lyndon B. Johnson, then a Senator, nominated the Albert B. Alkek Library (#0595) for depository status. Since 1955, this library at the Texas State University – San Marcos has been providing the public with free access to Government information. If President Johnson could see the Alkek Library now, he would surely be proud of their commitment to “Keeping America Informed.”

Founded on the banks of the San Marcos River, the area is considered to be among the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the Northern Hemisphere.The University is located in Congressional District 35, under Representative Lloyd Doggett and Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. 

Alkek Library is being highlighted as a spotlight library because of its outstanding commitment to providing access to Government information and its stellar activities to promote the depository collection.

The Government Information collection at Alkek Library is an impressive 1.4 million documents. There is a Government information desk where patrons can get assistance from library staff, access GIS services, or even have maps printed. The library offers a map printing service that printed over 1,200 USGS topographic maps last year. 

A notable project at the library is an ongoing intensive retrospective cataloging project of depository documents. During the last academic year, library staff have cataloged over 17,000 depository documents. This will greatly increase discoverability of depository documents at the library.

In addition, library staff are heavily involved in outreach activities for the collection.  A regular display in the library features ‘staff picks’ of depository documents. One particularly popular display this year was of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) report written by Katherine G. Johnson, an African-American female mathematician and space scientist who helped calculate the trajectory for Project Mercury and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. Her story is feature in the movie, Hidden Figures

Depository documents are also frequently featured in posts on social media. The Government Information Facebook page and the Alkek Library Facebook page feature Government documents, videos by Federal agencies, and information on workshops.

An example of a successful outreach campaign came during the election of 2016. Government information was distributed at the library’s election debate watch parties. Hundreds of Pocket Constitutions and stickers custom-made by a Government Information staff member were distributed to patrons. 

The Alkek library has a unique way of exposing students to Government information. Starting in fall 2015, the Government Information department has provided coloring and activity pages for stressed-out students during finals. These pages, including those from NASA and Texas Parks & Wildlife, have been very popular. The Government Information staff have even created their own limited-edition coloring book

Alkek Library’s creative outreach, active promotion of Government information, and excellent reference and cataloging practices support its long history and position the library well for serving its community for years to come.