Interview with Kian Flynn,
past-Chair of ALA’s Government Documents Round Table

Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

January 23, 2024

The American Library Association includes the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) which can be a useful support for librarians who work with government documents. My interview with Kian Flynn, the past-Chair of GODORT is below.

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

I’m Kian Flynn and I am the Geography & Global Studies Librarian at the University of Washington Libraries in Seattle, WA. In our government documents unit, I work with international documents and help provide reference support for government-related data questions. I have been a member of ALA’s Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) since 2016 and served as Chair of GODORT during the 2022-23 academic year.   

2. How did you become interested in government documents?

When I was completing my MLIS at the University of Washington’s iSchool, I started working as a Student Reference Specialist in the UW Libraries’ Government Publications, Maps, Microforms, & Newspapers (GMM) unit. In my role, I was exposed for the first time to the wide breadth and types of government information. From old reports to new data releases, I quickly became fascinated by the possibilities of working with government information and making it more accessible and understandable to the UW student body.

3. Share about the Government Documents Round Table.

GODORT was created back in 1972 to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas among librarians working with government documents. Fifty years later, our mission remains largely the same. We offer community and professional development for librarians working with government information in any aspect of their jobs. Any ALA member is welcome to join the round table and serve on any of our various committees, where members can help shape our programmatic offerings, work on our online resources, plan for conference events, etc.  

4. What resources does the Government Documents Round Table have available for librarians interested in this work?

We have GODORT LibGuides on topics including state agency publications and voting and elections; a webinar series on a rotating series of government information topics for anyone interested in government information; a quarterly publication (DTTP) that features articles on state, federal, and international government information topics, and social media accounts that will keep you up to date on the round table’s goings on.

5. What is next for the Government Documents Round Table?

We are currently gearing up for our programming and events at the ALA Annual Conference in San Diego this summer. Anyone attending is welcome to join us for our happy hour social, GODORT 101 session, annual awards ceremony, and government information programs. Our events at the ALA conference are great opportunities for networking and meeting other professionals in the government information community. Each year we are looking for new members to help serve on our committees, so do not hesitate to reach out if you are looking for professional development or service opportunities! 

6. For librarians interested in government documents, what suggestions do you have?

Connect with GODORT! Follow us on Social Media (Instagram, Facebook) to keep in the loop about our upcoming events. Drop by one of Friday Chats to connect with other librarians interested in government documents. We offer our Help! I’m An Accidental Government Information Librarian webinar series free to anyone. Connecting with and joining GODORT will give you the opportunity to connect with other librarians who have the same professional questions and challenges as you.

Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

Dr. Lauren Hays is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Central Missouri, and a frequent presenter and interviewer on topics related to libraries and librarianship. Please read Lauren’s other posts relevant to special librarians. Take a look at Lucidea’s powerful integrated library systems, SydneyEnterprise, and GeniePlus, used daily by innovative special librarians in libraries of all types, sizes and budgets.

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