F e d e r a l    D e p o s i t o r y    L i b r a r y    P r o g r a m


[ Click Here For Information About the FDLP Desktop ] Home
About the FDLP
Depository Management
Electronic Collection
Locator Tools & Services
Processing Tools
Q & A
askLPS  ·  Calendar  ·  Contacts  ·  Library Directory  ·  Site Index  ·  Site Search


Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program

[ PDF version ]  [ Back Issues ]
Cumulative Table of Contents Vol. 1 - present [ PDF ] ( includes current issue )

June 15, 2004

GP 3.16/3-2:25/07
(Vol. 25, no. 07)

of the Depository Library Council
April 18 - 21, 2004 - St. Louis, MO


1. Training Recommendations to GPO from the Depository Library Council

A. Establish Core Competencies for Government Information Specialists (long term goal)

Council recommends that GPO assemble a training taskforce with representatives from the various library associations, library schools, Federal agencies and GPO to identify the basic core competencies that any government information specialist should possess. This taskforce should also examine what rewards would entice government information specialist and their institutions to attend a basic training session.

Rationale: No one entity (GPO) can provide all the training for government information specialists due to significant geographic and budgetary limitations. Training is a mission that can and should be shared by all interested parties. GPO, acting as coordinator of training, should identify a list of basic core competencies agreed to by all parties since most of the training will be decentralized. This standardized set of competencies will keep the education level provided consistent and will drive the curriculum development choices in the future. Some of the core competencies identified by the Council are listed below:

  • Knowledge of how to manage the legacy collection
  • Knowledge of how to perform community demographic analysis and the development of user needs surveys
  • Knowledge of tools and procedures for evaluating depository library services
  • Knowledge of GPO’s true polices that might hopefully debunk many of the myths
  • Knowledge of document processing requirements
  • Knowledge of the technical competencies required of a government information specialist.
  • Knowledge of copy cataloging for both online and print government documents
  • Knowledge of tangible and Web-based government information resources required to facilitate discovery and access

GPO, as chief coordinator of training, might also be able to create a clearinghouse of training materials that currently exist and have been developed by several of the library associations, Federal agencies and library schools. As coordinator, GPO might be able to save on the redundancy of training efforts.

The Council wants training to be attractive to depository libraries but fears that the creation of a mandated certification requirement for training might be detrimental to the FDLP. A mandated certification might be looked at as a carrot for some institutions but it might be considered onerous and another reason to leave the depository program for others. The committee might look at some of the following carrots for training government information specialists.

  • Awarding basic training certificates, but not required to be part of the FDLP
  • Providing the basic training at minimal costs to government information specialists by providing the instruction through the web, teleconferencing, field representative, etc…
  • Awarding continuing education credits to those who attend any officially sanctioned government information specialist training session whether it is delivered at a Local, State or National library association meeting, through a Federal agency or through GPO itself.

B. Pilot Projects on Training

Council recommends that GPO, in partnership with Federal agencies and interested depository libraries, create pilot training projects using many different mediums to reach as many people as possible. Each pilot project should also be required to establish a list of "best practices" in the delivery of that type of instruction format. Council feels that these projects can be implemented right now. For example, the Bureau of the Census performed a LandView VI pic-tel training session for one of the Depository Library Council members on February 5, 2004.

Rationale: There is no need to wait for the long-term development of core competencies in order to explore and take advantage of the many different technological and cost effective modes of delivering training. Exploration of a wide variety of training mediums will also enable GPO to reach out to those depository libraries that don’t have large enough budgets to send their specialists for training. A few mediums are identified below:

    • Web-based training including CHAT
    • Teleconferencing
    • Using Microsoft Netmeeting for hands on computer training
    • Face to face training provided by the field consultants
    • Training at State and National Library Association Meetings
    • Use of video streaming.

C. Regional Consultants Identify and Report to GPO the Training Needs of Libraries in their Regions.

Council recommends that one high priority of Regional Consultants is to identify and regularly disseminate to GPO the training needs of the depository libraries in their region.

Rationale: Requiring the Regional Consultants to provide regular feedback to GPO on the training needs of their depository libraries will enable GPO to filter those needs to all of its training partners. This feedback will help the training partners develop more relevant and practical curricula.

Appendix 1

Training task force time line



Immediate implementation

Training Pilot Projects

2 months out

GPO select representatives to serve on the training/certification task force

12 months out

Task force identifies the core competencies for the professional and paraprofessional government information specialist.

18 months out

Task force determines the positive and negative impact certificates and continuing education will have on depository libraries.

24 months out

If certificates & continuing education are viable, then the task force will develop accreditation standards for assessment of various certificates.

2.5 years out

Implementation of the accreditation process

3 years out

Get feedback from the Regional Consultants and the pilot projects to determine the feasibility of offering similar training programs to non-FDLP libraries for free or on a cost recovery basis, depending on market demand.

3.5 years out

If feasible, begin to offer training to non-FDLP libraries for free or on a cost-recovery basis.

2. Improving communication between GPO staff and the Depository Community on cataloging and other issues

Council recommends that GPO proactively consult and communicate with the depository library community on cataloging policies and priorities, possibly through a listserv or blog dedicated to GPO cataloging issues. This model could be expanded to other areas such as the digitizing projects.

As libraries continue to load GPO cataloging records into their online catalogs, it becomes critical that GPO understand the uses to which their cataloging is being put, the implications of rule application, and of seemingly small changes in procedure. Further, as GPO implements its Integrated Library System (ILS), close communication with depository librarians and catalogers, who have years of ILS experience, may ease the transition. As titles migrate to the Internet, and as standards evolve for the cataloging of these titles, it’s important to have a mechanism for communication and feedback between depository libraries and GPO.

A GPO hosted listserv or announcement service, similar to FDLP-L, could be useful for communication in both directions.  GPO could announce upcoming projects and rule interpretations, send reminders of current practice, and ask for feedback from the community. Because responsibility for cataloging U.S. materials varies among depository libraries, sometimes falling under cataloging departments, sometimes under government information departments, it is desirable that a separate cataloging list be developed.

3. National Bibliography

Council recommends that GPO use the best available bibliographic information from The Monthly Catalog and the GPO Shelf list and other bibliographic sources as the basis for pre-1976 bibliographic records in the National Bibliography. Care should be taken to note which materials were distributed via the Federal Depository Library Program. The possibility of posting holdings for regionals to either OCLC or to the GPO National Bibliography should be explored. Council further recommends that GPO explore partnering opportunities with depository libraries and other cataloging consortia to more quickly catalog pre-1976 materials.

4. Procedure for libraries leaving the program

Procedure for Selective Depository Libraries Wishing to Leave the Program

The Depository Library Council recommends that GPO establish a procedure for libraries wishing to leave the program. An earlier recommendation (Spring 2001) was never fully acted upon.

Since the Regional Conference did not address standardized procedures for the termination of depository status and libraries continue to leave the program, DLC suggests implementation of guidelines based on the following:

Depository Termination Guidelines For Kansas Selectives

  1. Authorization
  • Authorization for withdrawal of depository libraries from the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) is based on 1) Instructions to Depository Libraries, Chapter 1, Section C, and 2) Administrative Notes, vol. 23, no. 15 (December 15, 2002), pp. 6-7.
    • As stated in the Instructions, an FDLP participating library "has the right to voluntarily relinquish its depository privilege if the library finds that it cannot meet the legal obligations set forth in the Instructions and other administrative directives."
  • The Depository Library Council has requested (AN, 12-15-02) the Government Printing Office to review and develop expanded guidelines to assist regional libraries in their attempts to deal with depository libraries that may be considering withdrawal from the FDLP. Such guidelines will be added to this document as they become available.
  1. Review of Depository Library Benefits and Consequences of Withdrawal
    • Communication with the Regional Librarian at the earliest possible time prior to the finalization of a decision to withdraw is crucial to review FDLP benefits and to consider possible consequences of withdrawal.
    • A meeting should be held with the Regional Librarian and leadership of the library considering withdrawal to emphasize the benefits of continuation in the FDLP and to articulate the consequences of withdrawal.
    • Implications for the terminating library with regard to the loss of any or all of its Federal documents collection as stated in Section D below (Disposal Requirements) will be emphasized at this interview.
    • Immediately upon receipt of a termination letter from a member library, GPO systematically discontinues all standing orders for serial titles received as part of the library’s depository status. Consequently, arrangements for continued receipt of GPO standing order titles must be made with a commercial library vendor prior to sending the termination letter to avoid possible gaps in receipt.
    • Prior to the finalization of a selective library’s decision to withdraw, and provided that the library holds a congressional designation, the Regional Librarian will communicate with the library’s congressional delegation to indicate the possibility of withdrawal.
  • Notes from a panel discussion held at the 9th Annual Federal Depository Library Conference (Oct. 22-25, 2000), entitled "Questions for ‘Reconsidering Depository Status,’" are available on the FDLP Desktop at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fdlp/pubs/proceedings/00pro29.html and should be consulted as background information if and when a decision to withdraw from the program is being considered.
  1. Announcement of Decision to Withdraw
    • The withdrawing library will be expected to notify the Government Printing Office and the Regional Librarian of its intent to withdraw no less than six months before the intended date of withdrawal. The withdrawal letter should be addressed to the Superintendent of Documents at the following address, and should be faxed to GPO at 202-512-1434 and 202-512-1432:

Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office (SD)
Washington, DC 20402

    • A copy of the withdrawal letter should be sent to the Regional Librarian at the address below, and a copy should also be faxed to 785-864-5705:

Regional Documents Librarian
320 Anschutz Library
University of Kansas Libraries
Lawrence, KS 66045-7537

    • When the decision to withdraw is announced, the terminating library must inform other depository libraries within the same Congressional district of its intent to withdraw.
    • Upon receiving notification of a library’s intent to withdraw, the Regional Librarian will communicate once again with the withdrawing library’s Congressional delegation, informing the delegation of the library’s intent and informing the delegation of their right to appoint another library if the withdrawal creates a vacancy in the FDLP program.

  1. Disposal Requirements
  • The Regional Librarian and the terminating library will negotiate the issue of whether the library will be permitted to retain any materials in its documents collection. Potentially, all documents held by the library are eligible for claiming by documents libraries remaining in the program.
  • Requirements for listing of the library’s holdings for the benefit of other libraries in the program will be finalized at this time. A time frame will be established for the withdrawing library’s preparation of offers lists that will be made available to other documents libraries in the state.
  • The terminating library should expect onsite visits from other documents librarians in the state as part of the review and claiming of items from their collection.

Prepared by

Kenneth P. Lohrentz
Regional Documents Librarian
Reference Librarian & Bibliographer
320 Anschutz Library
University of Kansas Libraries
Lawrence, KS 66045-7537

rev. 6/18/03

Further Council recommends that regionals wishing to withdraw or change their status within the FDLP adhere to the following guidelines:

The withdrawal of a regional from the FDLP can result in a significant risk to the historical and cultural heritage of the nation. For this reason, a regional library wishing to withdraw from or change its status to a selective within the FDLP should be required to:

  1. Formally notify GPO of the intention to withdraw from the FDLP a minimum of 2 years prior to the effective date of withdrawal. Additional notification to selective libraries within the state or service area the state library authority and congressional delegation are also required. In the case of a Regional that serves more than one state or designated with another library, this notification process must include all interested parties.
  2. Establish with GPO a collection review team composed of experienced documents librarians from all types and sizes of depositories from within the state or region.
  3. Pay consultants’ fees and other appropriate expenses to the librarians on this team.
  4. Carry out the recommendations of the review team for the disposition of the collection, before depository status is relinquished.
  5. Pay for the cost of transferring depository materials.

Review team members will:

  1. Determine the interest of other libraries in the state or region in assuming regional status.
    1. If a library can be found to assume regional status, a representative of the new regional should be on the review team.
    2. The new regional has first refusal on items from the depository collection of the regional surrendering depository status.
  2. Survey the collection for rare and/or culturally or historically significant materials.
  3. Assure that materials which might be considered for discard are available elsewhere within the state or region.
  4. In collaboration with GPO, select materials for the Collection of Last Resort at GPO.
  5. In cooperation with the selective depositories previously served by the regional, investigate other housing options for important materials available nowhere else in the state or region.

5. Management of Regional Withdrawal

Council recommends that GPO prepare a plan to assist selectives in the event their regional library withdraws from the FDLP or drops regional status.

6. Born Digital Information is at Risk

Council commends GPO’s existing efforts to acquire, capture, catalog, preserve and disseminate at no-fee born-digital government information. Digital government information has an extremely short life-span according to several recent studies. Council recommends that GPO assign a very high strategic planning priority to developing a systematic approach to their efforts in this area. The targeted content should include a range of formats, including but not limited to documents, cartographic files and dynamic databases.

7. GPO Digitization Standards

Council thanks GPO for spearheading a meeting, for a wide variety of stakeholders, on establishing GPO digitization standards.  Such standards are crucial for creating, preserving, and providing no-fee access to high quality digital government information. Council urges GPO to continue its leadership in identifying digitization best practices.

Council recommends that GPO provide opportunities for all libraries to participate in this project by leveraging skills and expertise that may be available. Participation could take several forms, including provision of metadata, MARC cataloging, OCR scanning, user interface design, and other appropriate digitization activities.

Council further recommends that GPO provide training, guidance, a communication forum, and technical support for Federal depositories participating in the digitization project.

8. Web-based Government Information Reference

Council recommends that GPO explore collaborative strategies for providing real-time government information reference assistance on the Web. This effort should be done in collaboration with the library community, appropriate government providers such as FirstGov and the Library of Congress, and with existing state or regional Web-based reference projects.


  1. William "Willie" Thompson
  2. Council commends William "Willie" Thompson upon his retirement after over 40 years of Federal service. During most of his career at GPO he worked in the Documents Sales Service, where he held a number of positions, culminating in the position of Program Analyst. He came to LPS in 1994 and shortly after that he took on the logistical planning responsibilities for the Depository Library Council meeting and the Federal Depository Conference. Willie always greeted attendees at these meetings with his winning smile and helpful attitude. His assistance was not limited to logistics and his workday was endless during these events. Council would like to thank Willie for staying with the group through many late night meetings year after year.

    At nearly every meeting, Willie was asked to appear at the backdoor of the meeting area to receive a well deserved ovation from the assembled group. On many occasions he was always able to find a way to be absent so as not to be embarrassed by the thanks he received for "doing his job;" this year he was even craftier in that he retired before the meeting.

    In a commendation from the 1997 spring meeting of the Depository Library Council, the following statement was made: "We deeply appreciate his efforts on our behalf, including the planning and coordination he does prior to the meetings and his cooperative ‘can-do’ spirit when we need him to work his magic to smooth out logistical problems..." We will miss Willie’s magic and on behalf of the entire depository library community wish him the best of luck in retirement.

    Once again, Willie, thank you for all your hard work.

  3. Sheila M. McGarr

Council commends Sheila M. McGarr for her many years of Federal service, including twenty one years at the Library Programs Service of the Government Printing Office. Sheila served in many capacities at GPO: Library Inspector (1981-1987), Chief of the Depository Administration Branch (1987-1992), Chief of the Depository Services Staff (1992-1999), Chief of the Library Division of the Library Programs Service (1999-2001), and finally as the Director, Collections Management Service (2003-2004).

Sheila was direct and insightful. She will be widely remember for her phrase "the FDLs: they want it all, they want it now and they want it for free." Sheila truly understood the program and the libraries within it. She was a forceful advocate for the LPS and for access to government information. Depository librarians celebrated her return to GPO in 2003 and will greatly miss her knowledge and support. Council thanks Sheila for her devotion to the FDLP and wishes her well.

3. Documents Expediting Project at the Library of Congress

Council applauds the Documents Expediting Project (DocEx) within the Library of Congress for the many years of outstanding service which benefited the Federal Depository Library Community. Until the distribution system within the FDLP matured, DocEx provided vital materials which served the needs of the depository community. Since its beginning in July 1946, DocEx has been the model of outstanding service to the library community and has enriched library collections around the world. Council wishes the DocEx Staff the very best in their future endeavors.

4. Stakeholder and Expert Meetings

Council commends GPO for initiating dialog with various stakeholders such as library directors, digitization experts, the information industry, and Federal agencies and for sharing information from the meetings on the future of the sales program and the digitization preservation standards with the depository library community.