Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program
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March 15, 2003 GP 3.16/3-2:24/03
Vol. 24, no. 03
Judy Russell:January 25, 2003
ALA GODORT Introductory Speech
I am delighted to be back at GPO and working with all of you again. I am honored that I was chosen by Bruce James to be the first woman and second librarian to serve as Superintendent of Documents. Wayne Kelley and Fran Buckley are a tough act to follow, but I look forward to the challenge.
If you saw Bruce James’ statement at his confirmation hearing, you know that he comes to GPO to improve permanent public access to government information and effect Federal information policy, not to run a printing plant. He recognizes the great value of the FDLP and the library community and partners with and advocates for GPO, now and in the future.
Bruce expects to spend the next year gathering information in order to prepare a strategic plan for GPO. Your participation in that process is essential to its success. Together we need to develop a vision of the FDLP of the future and identify what we need to do to get there, including legislative changes that may be necessary. As part of the process, there will be a change in the format of the Depository Library Council meeting in Reno. Monday, April 7th will be a day dedicated to discussions of the future.
In the meantime, while planning for the future, we will continue to work on the delivery of current services and providing outstanding service to you, Documents’ most important customers.
When I was director of LPS, you often heard me say that the FDLP was a delicate balance between the self-interest of the library and the public interest in access to Federal information. Electronic dissemination-or more accurately the loss of paper distribution-has disturbed the balance in significant ways. Together we need to identify the services that GPO can deliver, now and in the future, that will restore the balance, and that is likely to be different for each type and size of library. I encourage you to start discussions among yourselves and with us on this topic.
We also need to look at the work of the SOAR committee, to learn what we can about the reasons that libraries leave the program. Preliminary data indicates that many of the libraries that withdraw are small libraries, both academic and public, in economically disadvantaged areas - the very areas that most need government information for economic development. Stronger libraries, with more experience and resources, can help the more vulnerable ones by working with us to develop a recommended collection and set of services for small libraries specifically targeted to economic development. This will help these at risk libraries help their communities and give them reasons to stay in the program. We will work with STAT-USA, the Small Business Administration and other agency partners in this effort in order to offer special training and other assistance, but we need your expertise to help define and implement this plan. This is an example of targeting FDLP services to different sizes and types of libraries.
Before I turn this over to the panel to answer your questions, let me share with you the fact that T.C. Evans has agreed to serve as my Deputy Superintendent of Documents. The appointment is effective tomorrow. He will also continue to serve as Acting Director of Sales until that position is filled.
A few weeks ago when Bruce asked me to join him at GPO, he said that he expected me to spend 80% of my time on operations (today’s issues and opportunities) and 20% working with him on the future. Already he has asked that I change that to 50-50. Having T.C. as the Deputy Superintendent, handling many of the operational issues, will allow me additional time to work with Bruce and with you on the strategic vision for the future of GPO and the FDLP.
Again, I am honored and delighted to be your new Superintendent of Documents, and I look forward to working closely with you to improve permanent public access to government information.