If you hand a millennial an envelope of microfiche, chances are all you’ll get in return is a blank stare. That’s when Laurie Hall at the Government Publishing Office comes to the rescue.
Hall, who recently moved from her position as director of library technical services to be managing director of library services and content management, has worked at the GPO since 1985, and she has witnessed it undergo huge change as it converts to a more digital footing.
In an interview, Hall said the GPO exists to “get government information out to the public.” And that is what she intends to keep doing. What makes the work exciting to Hall is that “there is always something changing.” For evidence, look no further than the 154-year-old agency’s recent name change from the Government Printing Office to the Government Publishing Office, to emphasize it’s not just all about print documents.
In a phone interview with CQ Roll Call, GPO Media & Public Relations Manager Gary Somerset said Hall was “a key component in helping libraries around the country go digital.” Libraries might get a rap for being boring, but not for Hall; “It’s really exciting,” she said.
No longer relying on floppy disks, the GPO is responsible for all measure of government publications. All three branches of government have had their publications cataloged, stored and disseminated by the GPO for more than a century and a half.
Hall’s new position will involve overseeing four major, congressionally mandated programs.
The Federal Depository Library Program is a collaboration with libraries around the country that provide access to federal documents. Similarly, the International Exchange Service program provides U.S. federal documents in exchange for other governments’ documents.
The Cataloging and Indexing Program is responsible for tracking every one of the roughly 25,000 publications created by the U.S. government each year. Lastly, the by-law publishing program makes copies of laws available to the public as specified within the laws themselves.
In a statement, GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks said Hall’s “expertise and knowledge of working with the library community and its issues is a tremendous asset for GPO.”
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