Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1995-1996 index

Distributed June 17, 1996
Contact: Mark Nickel

Congressional testimony June 18

Brown librarian urges improved public access to government information

Daniel P. O'Mahony, a Brown librarian, will testify about the Federal Depository Library Program Tuesday, June 18, before the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee. He will urge Congress to ensure better public access to government information, partly through adoption of electronic information technology.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Daniel P. O'Mahony, a librarian at Brown University, will testify before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on Tuesday, June 18, 1996. The committee, under the chairmanship of Sen. John Warner (R-VA), is examining ways to improve public access to government information in the 21st century. Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) is a member of the Senate committee.

Editors: O'Mahony was to have testified May 22, but that hearing was postponed. The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m., Tuesday, June 18, in Room 301 of the Russell Senate Office Building. O'Mahony's testimony is available from the Brown News Bureau.

O'Mahony, one of four witnesses on the panel, will testify that the most effective way to improve access to government information is to strengthen the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The FDLP is a system of approximately 1,400 libraries nationwide that provides the public with local, no-fee access to government information, under the administration of the Government Printing Office. There are 12 depository libraries in Rhode Island, including the Brown University Library.

According to O'Mahony's testimony, Congress must:

"Depository libraries are committed to providing the necessary technical infrastructure and professional assistance in a neutral environment to enable people from all walks of life take full advantage of their government's information," O'Mahony will testify. "In the information society of the 21st century, our very survival - as a nation and as individuals - will be determined by how successfully we utilize information. It is imperative that we make it as easy as possible for people to be able to find, access and use government information in ways that are meaningful for them and equitable and economical for us all."

O'Mahony has been coordinator of government documents and social sciences data services at the Brown University Library since 1992. He is a member of the Federal Depository Library Council, a 15-member national advisory board to the U.S. Public Printer, and served as chair of the council during 1995-1996.