NSights Blog

University Libraries selected for key map publications

Recent collection award ensures access to critical resources for Nevadans

This month, University Libraries will receive its first resources from the revised Government Publishing Office Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). While in the past these print titles were distributed to possibly all 1,150 participating libraries, University Libraries will now be one of 20 libraries in the United States tasked with preserving and availing these documents to patrons.

The Government Publishing Office (GPO) is a federal agency tasked with printing information produced by the federal government, including executive agencies, Congress and the Supreme Court. As an FDLP Library, University Libraries collect and preserve these documents. This serves the program’s two objectives: securing an archival record and ensuring democratic access to government information. Last year, the GPO announced an overhaul, which would greatly reduce print distribution of about 50 of its key publications. What ensued was a bidding process, where FDLP libraries applied to retain deliveries of titles. The GPO then chose recipients based on an institution’s ability to either preserve documents or ensure access to communities that rely on the series titles.

University Libraries were awarded five titles, government-issued maps and The Minerals Yearbook. While each represents a significant resource for our collection, we are particularly excited to receive “BLM 1:100,000 Scale Maps, 30X60 degrees series, Surface Management Status.” University Libraries is one of five Western Libraries that will host the title. Twenty copies of this title will go to the largest libraries in the country, including the Los Angeles Public Library; the University of Michigan; and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It also includes Intermountain universities such as University of New Mexico, University of Montana and University of Colorado.

These titles, especially the BLM maps, represent a significant resource for the people of Nevada. It is, without a doubt, impossible to tell the past, present or future of Nevada without Bureau of Land Management (BLM) maps. Currently, 63 percent of Nevada is held by BLM, though BLM’s predecessor (the General Land Office) operated in the Nevada territory since its transfer to the United States. The General Land Office managed mining claim stakes, selling land parcels, and collecting grazing fees. These maps, spanning years, show the development of land ownership within much of the American West. The plats in original maps formed the basis for the land sales under the Morrill Act, which authorized land sales to endow Land-grant Universities. The founding of the University of Nevada, Reno was made possible with funds from the sale of public lands. These were often without consultation of native tribes who occupied the land.

We have received the GPO’s BLM maps for fifty years, using these titles to help Nevadans understand their own property rights. They are also vital to understanding the history of mining claims within our state. These series are held, along with all our maps at the Mary B. Ansari Map Library, DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library, within the Mackay Mines Building. The building honors John Mackay, a University donor and one of the “Bonanza Kings,” who made his fortune developing the Comstock Lode, largely beneath land that is currently managed by BLM.

The Ansari Map Library contains over 200,000 physical maps. It forms the physical basis for our library’s GIS and maps services, headed by librarian Chrissy Klenke. The effort to secure the GPO titles was interdepartmental, spearheaded by the Library’s Government Information Group (GIG), which ensures proper description, preservation, access and research support for Government Documents. Along with map support, University Libraries also assist patrons with many government information sources. This also includes intellectual property support through the University’s federally-designated Patent and Trademark Resource Center.

University Libraries remain committed to increasing access to government documents and map resources. Along with our continued receipt of the BLM Maps series, these collections are part of our ongoing effort to expand our catalog records for maps. The sheer size and complexity of the collection pose significant time and resource requirements to properly record each map, the annual run comprehensively, and even the collection as a whole. Similarly, the size of the collection continues to require expanding physical storage shelving. Along with cataloging and storage, the Library hopes to embark on digitization processes, making a half century of map data available online.

For additional information of University Library map services, please see visit the Libraries’ Map Resources: Mary B. Ansari Map Library website.

For additional information on government document research support services, please see the Libraries’ U.S. & International Governments website.


  • Amy Shannon, associate professor, Life & Environmental Sciences librarian
  • Chrissy Klenke, librarian III, Earth Sciences, GIS, and Maps librarian
  • Emily Boss, assistant professor, head of Metadata, Cataloging, and One-Time Acquisitions
  • Lee Brockmeier, Government Documents team lead
  • Linda Kopecky, librarian III, associate dean, University Libraries
  • Teddy Stocking, assistant professor, Business librarian
Teddy Stocking headshot.
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