Future E-Government Librarians Attend FDLC and Visit College Park

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Federal Library Depository Council meetings held in Arlington, VA from Oct. 17-20, again served as the backdrop for some much-anticipated face-to-face meeting time for those MLS students enrolled in the Government Information Service in the 21st Century online degree program, commonly referred to as the iSchool's E-Government Online Cohort. Sixteen cohort students from across the country attended the FDLP meetings along with cohort organizers and faculty John Carlo Bertot, John A. Shuler, and Paul T. Jaeger. The cohort students have been studying E-Government and related issues, such as the digital divide and information policy, since the launch of the online program during the Fall 2010 semester. The online MLS degree program was the first for the University of Maryland's iSchool.

The group first met in person during the Fall 2010 Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) meetings, also held in Arlington, VA, but after taking a course in federal government resources with John A. Shuler during the 2011 Summer I term, the students felt more engaged during this year’s discussions surrounding the strategic planning process for the FDLP, and the program's future prospects. In fact, the students have been closely following the debate over the sustainability of the current FDLP model over the past year, having read and extensively discussed the Ithaka S+R report on future models for the FDLP during their online courses. This semester, the E-Government Online Cohort students are enrolled in two classes, LBSC 670 (Organization of Information) and an online internship for credit through the Government Information Online service, as they progress towards completing their MLS degrees by June 2012.

While the FDLP meetings were enlightening, the students most enjoyed their Wed. Oct. 19 visit to the University of Maryland - College Park, a first time visit to campus for many in the group. The students were welcomed to the iSchool by Dean Jennifer J. Preece, toured the campus - pausing to take a group photo with Testudo outside McKeldin Library! - and enjoyed a lunch presentation and discussion lead by Rebekah Meservy, an appraisal archivist with the National Archives who works closely with federal records managers at law enforcement and banking agencies. The group then traveled to downtown Washington, DC for a personal tour of the Government Printing Office's exhibit Keeping America Informed exhibit with GPO Agency Historian George Barnum. The E-Government Online Cohort students enjoyed their trip to the National Capital Region, and they are very thankful to the University of Maryland's iSchool and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grant Program for the opportunity to participate in such an innovative online MLS degree program.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Donlin.