U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) Director Davita Vance-Cooks announces the retirement of GPO Superintendent of Documents Mary Alice Baish. Baish has been a professional librarian for more than 30 years.
She is the former director of the Government Relations Office of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) in Washington, DC.
Baish has been a member of GPO’s senior executive team since her appointment as Superintendent of Documents in 2011 by then-Public Printer William J. Boarman. She is only the second woman in GPO’s history to hold that position. Baish will retire at the end of April.
As Superintendent, Baish pursued a policy of modernizing the GPO’s Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), which serves more than 1,150 public, academic, Federal, court, and other libraries nationwide in providing no-fee public access to official U.S. Government publications and information products. She was an integral part of the management team that worked with the National Academy of Public Administration in its congressionally-mandated review of GPO, resulting in Academy recommendations that advocated a strong leadership role for GPO’s information dissemination programs in the digital era. Using those recommendations, Baish led the formulation of a National Plan for Access to U.S. Government Information and the future role of the FDLP, soliciting and utilizing input from Federal depository libraries across the Nation.
A vocal advocate of broadening public access to Government information, Baish pushed for the development of new collections for GPO’s Federal Digital System, including the Warren Commission Report and Hearings on the Assassination of President Kennedy, Federal court opinions, and other historically significant documents. She worked closely with Federal depository libraries in their transition to the digital era, increasing the contact between GPO and library staff, and obtaining approval from the Joint Committee on Printing for a new policy providing regional Federal depository libraries with greater flexibility in managing their print collections. She oversaw a growing range of GPO webinars, virtual conferences, and other digital forums to expand educational and training opportunities for depository librarians.
Baish frequently represented GPO at national, State, and local library conferences to discuss the ongoing transformation of the FDLP to a more digital information dissemination operation. Throughout her tenure, her cost-effective management of the FDLP resulted in real economic savings to the program, leading to reductions in new funding while expanding the reach of the program to depository libraries and the public they serve. In recognition of her work, in 2015 Baish was the recipient of the AALL annual Public Access to Information Award.
“Mary Alice has done an outstanding job as Superintendent of Documents,” said GPO Director Vance-Cooks. “Her singular work to expand public access to the official, authentic publications of the U.S. Government, support the FDLP in planning for its future, and assisting our library partners in carrying out our mission to Keep America Informed has advanced the work of the GPO and set the FDLP on the path to a sustainable future. With deep appreciation for her contributions, we send her our thanks and our best wishes for a happy and well-deserved retirement.”
See Also: Direct to Mary Alice Baish Bio (via GPO)