Information activities in Federal agencies span a wide spectrum. We are focusing on libraries and information centers in this course, but even within that type of structure, there can be a wide range of activities. The first five categories are those usually found in Federal agencies that have a library and information function. The last category is a type of federal agency that exists to assist other non-federal libraries in a non-library service manner.
Some libraries and information centers provide information only to their own employees , some to their own employees and other Federal employees, and some to any and all people, even international. The libraries’ mission statement will often include language about the audience for the services, but other times it can be more difficult to ascertain.
Most federal libraries and information centers acquire and dispense open source or unclassified information. Other types of Federal libraries handle only “classified” information and some can handle both. There are many restrictions on classified information including who can see it, transmit it, and receive it.
Federal libraries and information centers are managed in different ways. Some libraries are completely owned and staffed by federal agencies and employees. Many libraries and information centers have a mix of both federal employees and contract staff, either on site or off site. Some federal libraries and information centers are completely contracted out, meaning the the Government is paying an outside organization for the entire range of goods and services.
Federal libraries and information centers are funded in different ways. Most are funded by one year appropriated money that is generally not specifically assigned to libraries, but its part of a management office structure. Some libraries and information centers receive actual appropriations as designated by the U.S. Congress. Some libraries and information centers receive only partial funding or no funding and operate on a cost recovery basis by selling goods and services.
Some federal libraries are independent; some as clearly identified as being a separate function in an organizational chart, and some are placed within larger units of the agency.
Various offices have indirect control over the functions of other Federal agencies. These are examples of offices that control various functions found in all Federal agencies.
It’s important to remember that there are multiple years happening at any one time. It is important to know the distinction of these years and how they can impact each other in various ways.
Money has different colors depending upon how long it can be used by an agency.
An Overview of Government Information Functions