January 24, 2022

ARL Releases Statement on Recent USGPO Decisions Concerning the FDLP

From an ARL Announcement:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) released a statement calling upon the US Government Printing Office (GPO) to reverse its recent, troubling decisions concerning the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). ARL asked that GPO approve the University of Minnesota Libraries as the regional for the State of Michigan once it is designated by the relevant Senators, as well as approve and support the ASERL “Guidelines for Managing FDLP Collections in the Southeast Region.” Such actions are consistent with GPO past precedent and, importantly, comply with provisions in Title 44. These types of collaborations and cooperative efforts are essential to the success of the FDLP both now and in the future.

ARL and its members have long-standing participation in and support for the FDLP, a partnership between the Federal Government and libraries throughout the United States that ensures the public has no-fee access to US government information. ARL members invest significant staff, financial resources, and space allocations to the Program with the belief that equitable access to information about our Government and its programs is central to our democracy. Recently, changes in policy and practice by GPO and its failure to embrace needed changes to the Program present serious challenges to the Program’s sustainability and viability. These changes will seriously impact the ability of the public to effectively access government information both now and in the future.

Decisions by the leadership of GPO over the last nine months call for costly changes in practice by federal depository libraries that are not supported by provisions in Title 44, the governing statute of the Program. In addition, GPO leadership has reinterpreted provisions in Title 44 and dismissed long-standing precedent concerning the designation of regional federal depository libraries to the Program. Finally, GPO has not acknowledged current library practice across all types of libraries and has not positioned the Program and its resources to reflect how users engage in digital discovery and access to information.

Read the Complete Statement (2 pages; PDF)

See Also: Background and Primary Documents:
Recent Developments on FDLP as of August 2011 (via ARL)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.