Old Dominion University Libraries


Perry Library at Old Dominion University is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a federal depository with lobby and web exhibits and a reception. The lobby exhibit of materials from the collection will open on September 1, 2003 and continue through fall semester. The reception, to be held September 15, 2003 at 3:00 pm, will feature the presentation of a certificate from the Government Printing Office and our recent nomination as "Depository Library of the Year."

    • The library became a depository for materials from the Atomic Energy Commission in 1963 Beginnings
    • The federal documents collection now totals approximately half a million pieces Collection
    • There are over 12,000 maps and thousands of Internet publications Collection
    • Soil Surveys are the most frequently checked out publications Usage
    • The School of Health Sciences are our most frequent users Usage
    • There are web sites for parents and children Collection

"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
-- James Madison
Letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822
In Fulfilling Madison's Vision, p. vii

In the fall of 1963, Professor C.L. Adams of the Physics Department of Old Dominion College proposed that Hughes Library become a depository for Atomic Energy Commission materials. University Librarian William C. Pollard, in a memo to President Lewis W. Webb, Jr., indicated that becoming a "depository for Atomic Energy Commission documents should put us in line for becoming one of the research centers Governor Harrison is considering establishing in the future." Pollard and Webb solicited sponsorship for the effort from Congressman Porter Hardy, Jr.

After several months of research and negotiations, the library was designated by Congressman Hardy and GPO as a federal depository for the 2nd Congressional district and a depository for Atomic Energy Commission materials.

The lobby exhibit showcases some of the more unique materials from our collection:

  • publications on nuclear research from our early beginnings as an Atomic Energy Commission depository
  • Census records from 1790-2000, showing the dynamic changes in gathering statistical information
  • NASA photographs, CD-ROMs and books, spotlighting the shuttle program, MIR space station and Apollo projects
  • military histories of Hampton Roads, as well as international engagements, demonstrating our area's military contributions
  • materials on the Chesapeake Bay, presidential documents, women's health materials, CIA maps, and the children's corner, highlighting the variety of the collection
  • see full list of materials on exhibit

Today, the library’s documents collection contains approximately half a million items in many formats:

  • 155,391 printed materials (books, hearings, legal materials)
  • 250 periodicals (journals)
  • 314,039 microforms
  • 2,111 CD-ROMs and DVDs
  • 38 videos
  • 12,033 maps
  • 8,999 Internet publications (and growing daily)

By 2005, the Government Printing Office predicts that 90% of new titles will be online only.

Bookmarks and other handouts are available in the Perry Library lobby


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Statistics are kept for the usage of government publications at Perry Library. Here are some examples of our top ten items:

Most frequently used print documents include:

  • Soil Surveys (all counties)
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States
  • Federal Register
  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • USGS Professional Papers
  • Foreign Relations of the United States

Top users of federal publications:

  • The College of Health Sciences

Most frequently visited Web sites include:

  • Statistical Abstract of the United States
  • Congressional Universe
  • American FactFinder (create customized Census Reports)
  • FedStats
  • PubMed
  • GPO Access
  • CIA World Factbook
  • Dept. of Health & Human Services (all health related agencies)
  • World News Connection (online FBIS)
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Perry Library has been nominated for the first annual Depository Library of the Year award. The nomination cites:

    • Promotion efforts (e.g., women's health exhibit)
    • Collaborative instruction (e.g., library element of Health sciences/dental hygiene research course)
    • Numerous training workshops and presentations at VLA
    • Articles and reviews in Virginia Libraries
    • Work with the American Library Association's Government Documents Roundtable
    • Efforts to improve cataloging and workflow

Finalists will be notified in August and the winner will receive a plaque, etc. at the Fall Depository Conference in Crystal City in October.

  • Janet Justis, Government Information Reference Librarian, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529 (757) 683-4169 jjustis@odu.edu

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