FEDERAL DEPOSITORY LIBRARY MANUAL,
SUPPLEMENT 2: GUIDELINES FOR THE FEDERAL DEPOSITORY LIBRARY
Library Programs Service
Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, DC 20401
The Guidelines for the Federal Depository Library Program set
forth program and performance goals for the
Federal depository libraries and for the Government Printing
Office (GPO). The revised Guidelines incorporate the
formerly separate Minimum Standards for the Depository Library
The Minimum Standards were originally adopted in 1976. The
Guidelines were originally adopted in 1977 and
slightly revised in 1987. Because new technologies have greatly
changed the way Federal Government information
is disseminated, the Depository Library Council established a
working group to draft revised editions of these
documents. The working group included representatives from
Council, regional libraries, selectives, and GPO; and
the group reflected academic, public, law, and state agency
The charge to the working group specified that it should include
provisions covering distribution of Federal
Government information in electronic formats as well as "provide
a vision for improving depository library services
and standards that reflect the dynamics of the changing
information infrastructure." In addition to updating the
Guidelines with respect to the use of new technologies in the
delivery of Federal Government information, the
working group was particularly interested in developing
consistency between the guidelines and the recently
adopted self study process required of libraries undergoing
inspection. The working group attempted to frame the
individual guidelines so that they are "outcomes based" rather
than prescriptions for specific actions.
The Depository Library Council to the Public Printer held its
fall meeting on October 16-18, 1995. In its
Recommendation #10, the Council adopted the Guidelines, with the
provision that they be reviewed every two
Working Group on Revising the Guidelines for the Federal
Depository Library Program
Duncan Aldrich, University of Nevada-Reno
Ann Bregent, Washington State Library
Susan Dow, State University of New York-Buffalo
Jan Fryer, Iowa State University, Chair
Patrick Grace, Seattle Public Library
Ridley Kessler, Jr., University of North Carolina
Sheila McGarr, Government Printing Office
Paul Pattwell, Newark Public Library
Andrea Sevetson, University of California-Berkeley
Bobby C. Wynn, Fayetteville State University
.Guidelines for the Federal
Depository Library Program
As adopted by the Depository Library Council to the Public
1. Objectives of the Federal Depository Library Program
1-1 The purpose of depository libraries is to make U.S.
Government information regardless of format
accessible to the public and to provide for its continued
availability in the future.
1-2 The purpose shall be achieved by a system of cooperation
wherein depository libraries will select Federal
public information at no charge in return for making it freely
accessible to the public in their Congressional district
or local area.
1-3 These guidelines mandate the level of performance required
of all depositories unless otherwise specified by
statute or regulations.
2. Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
2-1 Actively gather and disseminate, within the scope of Title
44, United States Code, sections 1902-1903, all
Federal information regardless of format that is of public
interest or educational value.
2-2 Provide all issues of series in the
List of Classes of
United States Government Publications Available for
Selection by Depository Libraries, including those issues not
printed or procured, or in the case of electronic
products, not mastered by the Government Printing Office.
2-3 Issue instructions for the selection, claiming, retention,
and withdrawal of depository documents and other
activities related to depository libraries. (See
Instructions to Depository Libraries and Superseded
2-4 Provide an efficient mechanism for depository libraries to
add and delete items from their item selection
profiles. New materials offered for selection should include the
following information: title, SuDocs class stem,
issuing agency, item number, format, and a brief description of
the item being offered. Subdivide item numbers as
appropriate to insure that libraries receive only wanted
information products. (See Title 44, United States Code,
sections 1904 and 1913.)
2-5 Offer choice of format whenever feasible: paper, microform,
electronic, or other; however, the Government
Printing Office, in consultation with depository libraries, has
the option of providing only one format when the
nature of the information or cost warrants it (see SOD 13).
2-6 Supply shipment information including depository item
numbers, titles of documents, classification numbers,
and information on SuDocs classification changes.
2-7 Provide copies if possible to fill claims for publications
missing from depository shipments. Respond to claims
as expeditiously as possible.
2-8 Provide a standard classification system for Federal
information and provide assistance to libraries on using the
SuDocs classification system (see latest editions of the GPO
Classification Manual and An Explanation
of the Superintendent of Documents Classification System).
2-9 Provide a timely and comprehensive system of catalogs and
indexes to Federal information (see Title 44,
United States Code, section 1711).
2-10 Cooperate with the National Archives so that the Archives
may acquire and preserve a comprehensive
collection of Federal information.
2-11 Allocate funds for the evaluation of depository libraries
through questionnaires, surveys, and inspections at
intervals considered necessary by the Superintendent of
Documents, to insure compliance with the depository law.
Collect, compile, analyze, and publish pertinent statistics on a
2-12 Investigate conditions in depository libraries by on-site
visits for compliance and non-compliance with the
rules and regulations. Provide a written report to the library
promptly following the visit. If conditions are not
corrected within six months, consider deletion of the library
from the list of depositories (see Title 44, United States
Code, section 1909).
2-13 Announce new policies and changes on a regular basis to all
depositories via print and electronic means.
Provide adequate notice of statistics to be gathered in the
Biennial Survey so that collection of data can be
implemented in a timely manner.
2-14 Cooperate with publication projects which contribute to the
use of Federal information.
2-15 Provide user support and training for depository libraries
GPO Access service or other GPO-
generated information system.
2-16 Maintain long term access to Government information at the
GPO on-demand delivery service.
2-17 Consult at regular intervals with the Depository Library
Council to the Public Printer on matters related to
depository libraries, including the development of standards and
bibliographic aids, changes in the SuDocs
classification system, the selection of materials for
micropublication and on issues relating to the electronic
conversion and distribution of Federal government information.
3. Collection Development
3-1 Each depository library should maintain the titles in the
basic collection available for
immediate use (see
Federal Depository Library Manual, pp. 173-174).
3-2 Each library should acquire and maintain or otherwise
provide access to the basic catalogs, guides and
indexes, retrospective and current, considered essential to the
reference use of the collection. This should include
selected non-Governmental reference tools (see Federal
Depository Library Manual).
3-3 Each depository should maintain a specific written
Collection Development Policy which reflects the following:
a. the selection of frequently used and potentially
useful materials based on the objectives of the library;
b. the selection of materials responsive to the needs of
the users in the Congressional district and local
area where the library is located (see Federal Depository
Library Manual Supplement).
3-4 Each depository library should conduct a comprehensive
review of its selections regularly in order to insure
that needed materials are selected and that materials, no longer
of use, are deselected.
3-5 Depository libraries, either solely or in conjunction with
neighboring depositories, should make demonstrable
efforts to identify and meet the Government information needs of
the Congressional district or local area.
3-6 Depository libraries should coordinate item selections with
other depositories in the Congressional district and
local area to insure adequate coverage that meets local needs.
4. Bibliographic Control
4-1 The library should check all shipping lists to insure that
items selected are received and, if not, promptly
4-2 Each publication in the shipment, regardless of format,
should be marked with the library's name and
"depository" to distinguish it from publications received from
other sources. Each publication should be marked
with the date of the shipping list, or the date of receipt, or
the date of processing (see Instructions to
4-3 The library should record all of its depository receipts.
The minimum holdings record for a depository library
should show the library's holdings and the call numbers or
locations where they may be found (see
Instructions to Depository
4-4 A method of classification should be adopted for precise
identification and location of materials requested by
4-5 Whenever possible documents should be available for public
use within 10 days after receipt; they should be
retrievable even if cataloging information is not yet available.
4-6 The library should maintain statistics of the collection
needed for the Biennial Survey of Depository Libraries.
4-7 The library will maintain, in paper or electronic format, a
record of item numbers selected and not selected.
5. Maintenance of the Depository Collection
5-1 Collections should be maintained in comparable physical
condition as purchased library materials through the
use of proper preservation practices, including binding when
5-2 Depository publications should be protected from unlawful
removal comparable to other parts of the library's
collections. Lost, worn out, or damaged materials should be
replaced comparably with non-Government materials.
5-3 Libraries served by a regional depository may withdraw
publications retained for the statutory minimum period
of five years from receipt after securing permission from the
regional library for disposal in accordance with the
provisions of Title 44, United States Code, section 1912.
Unneeded materials should be made available to other
libraries in accordance with the Instructions to Depository
Libraries and regional disposition guidelines.
5-4 Depository libraries within executive departments, Federal
courts, and independent agencies may dispose of
unwanted Government publications after first offering them to the
Exchange and Gift Division of the Library of
Congress in accordance with the provisions of Title 44, United
States Code, section 1907 and policy guidance from
the Library of Congress.
5-5 The provisions of Title 44, United States Code, section
1911, disposal of unwanted publications, do not apply
to libraries of the highest appellate courts of the states (see
Title 44, United States Code, section 1915).
5-6 Superseded material may be withdrawn according to the latest
edition of the Superseded List.
5-7 Claims must be submitted within stated time limits.
Duplicate claims should not be submitted except in
accordance with Administrative Notes, v. 16, no. 9, July
15, 1995, pp. 3-4.
6. Human Resources
6-1 One person should be designated by the library to coordinate
depository activities and to act as liaison with
the Superintendent of Documents in all matters relating to
6-2 This person should be responsible for coordination of:
a) selecting, receiving, and claiming depository
b) replying to correspondence and surveys from the
Superintendent of Documents;
c) interpreting the Federal Depository Library Program to
the administrative level of the library, and
d) performing or supervising stated aspects of service,
or in an integrated collection, knowledge of
persons to whom responsibilities are delegated, such as:
(1) organization for use,
(2) maintenance of records of the collection,
(3) physical maintenance of the collection,
(4) establishment of withdrawal procedures,
(5) maintenance of reader services,
(6) promotion of use of collection,
(7) preparation of budgets, and
(8) submission of reports.
6-3 The liaison should be a professionally qualified librarian
and responsible to the library administration.
6-4 Professional and technical support staff should be added
depending on the size and scope of the library and
the methods of organization of the collection. As the Federal
Depository Library Program moves into an
increasingly electronic environment, depository libraries should
have access to appropriate technical support staff.
The total number of staff should be sufficient to effectively
perform the depository functions of the library and
meet the requirements described in the
6-5 Depository Librarians and support staff should keep
up-to-date on new developments through participation in
professional societies, attendance at workshops, and professional
6-6 Depository personnel should have access to the Internet with
e-mail and listserv capabilities in order to
promote the quick exchange of information between the depository
library, other depositories, and the
Government Printing Office.
6-7 Depository library staff should familiarize themselves with
the such publications as Instructions to
Depository Libraries, Superseded List,
Administrative Notes, Federal Depository Library
Manual and its Supplements, and abide by their
6-8 Questionnaires and surveys submitted by the Superintendent
of Documents to depository libraries should be
completed and returned promptly in accordance with accompanying
6-9 Prior to a scheduled GPO inspection, depository library
personnel should conduct a library self-study in
accordance with GPO instructions.
7. Physical Facilities
7-1 Space for depository operations should be of the same
quality as other areas of the library. It should be
comfortable and have acceptable levels of lighting, temperature,
ventilation and noise control. It should be
functional, flexible and expandable.
7-2 The spaces should contain well planned areas for services
provided; e.g. reference, circulation, loan and other
public service activities. There should be adequate space for
housing of the collection.
7-3 There should be a separate area for processing of the
collection including suitable work space for staff
7-4 All parts of the collection should be readily accessible,
preferably on open shelves, but in all circumstances,
should be located so that materials may be retrieved in a
reasonable period of time.
7-5 If depository materials are maintained in a separate
division of the library, the space provided should be
conveniently located for user access to encourage use of the
7-6 Sufficient tables or carrels should be provided for
in-library use of depository materials.
7-7 Sufficient microform readers and reader/printers should be
7-8 Appropriate hardware and software must be provided for
public users accessing electronic information
available through the Federal Depository Library Program (e.g.
CD-ROMs, on-line databases, etc.). This hardware
and software should include computer workstations capable of
providing Internet access that includes GILS-aware
client software, CD-ROM readers, and printers (see "Required
Minimum Technical Guidelines for Workstations").
7-9 The library should abide by the recommended standards for
access by individuals with disabilities (Americans
with Disabilities Act).
8. Public Service
8-1 Libraries must make depository information available for the
free use of the public in the library. Highest
appellate court libraries of the states are exempt from the
provisions of Title 44, United States Code, section 1911
(see Title 44, United States Code, section 1915).
8-2 The library should provide to all users reference assistance
with regard to depository information. In each
depository library, there should be recognized focal points for
inquiries about government information. At this
point it should be possible to find:
a) resources in the collection, including specific
b) location of wanted information in the library;
c) answers to reference questions or a referral to a
source or place where answers can be found;
d) guidance on the use of the collection, including the
principal available reference sources, catalogs,
abstracts, indexes and other aids including electronic products;
e) availability of additional resources in the region;
(f) assistance in borrowing documents from regional or
libraries through interlibrary loan.
8-3 The selection of items in electronic format assumes that the
library will take reasonable steps to assist the
public in their use. When appropriate, this includes providing
the user with instruction in running the application
and developing search strategies. If the library does not own
the appropriate hardware or software, it should be
willing to help the user locate a site at which the product can
8-4 The library has the option of establishing its own
circulation policies for use of depository materials outside
8-5 The library should provide facilities for using materials
within the library, including photocopying facilities,
equipment for reading and reproducing microforms and for
accessing, printing, and downloading electronically-
formatted materials received through the Federal Depository
8-6 The library should publicize the depository collection to
its primary constituency and the public (see
Federal Depository Library
9. Cooperative Efforts
9-1 All depository libraries are part of a nation-wide network
of libraries consisting of selectives and regional
9-2 Selective depositories should cooperate in building up the
collections of the regional depositories and in the
redistribution of documents not needed in their own organizations
via various state and national disposal lists in
traditional paper and on-line formats.
9-3 All depository libraries should cooperate in reporting to
the Superintendent of Documents new Federal
documents not listed in the Month
9-4 Depository libraries borrowing documents from other
libraries should comply with current Interlibrary Loan
9-5 All depository libraries should provide depository materials
on interlibrary loan except for "high use"
information products consistent with the circulation of
non-depository materials in the library's collection.
9-6 All depository libraries should have a policy of providing
photocopies of depository materials in traditional
formats and access to depository to other libraries consistent
with that for non-depository materials.
9-7 Depository libraries shall consult with Government agencies,
libraries, public interest groups, and with the
Supe rintendent of Documents, to encourage widespread, free
public access to Federal agency information
resources through telecommunications networks and ultimately
through the Federal Depository Library Program.
10. Regional Libraries
10-1 Regional depositories will coordinate in their region the
retention of at least one copy of all Government
publications distributed in paper, microform, CD-ROM, floppy
diskette, or other tangible format through the
Federal Depository Library Program--except those authorized to be
discarded by the Superintendent of Documents.
Retained copies may be in paper, microform, or electronic format.
Regional depositories are not expected to house
or coordinate the retention of any current or future GPO online
services or other remotely accessed Federal
Government databases. The establishment of such centralized,
remote databases will alleviate other sites (such as
regional depositories) of archival responsibilities.
10-2 Regional depositories will work with selective depositories
in their region, with the Superintendent of
Documents, and with depository libraries from other regions to
assure that all depositories in their region have free
access--either directly, through a telecommunications network, or
through interlibrary loan--to all depository
materials distributed or made remotely accessible in electronic
formats, e.g. floppy disks, CD-ROMs, etc.
10-3 Regional depositories will coordinate the lending of
depository materials among depository libraries within
their region. This will include the lending or replication of
materials distributed through the Federal Depository
Library Program in paper, microform, and electronic formats (see
Title 44, United States Code, section 1912).
10-4 Regional depositories may allow selective depositories in
their region to dispose of depository materials they
have held for the five year statutory minimum. They will
establish written procedures and guidelines for the
transfer of these materials to other depository libraries in the
region. Materials authorized to be discarded by the
Superintendent of Documents do not require permission for
disposal from the regional library (see Title 44, United
States Code, section 1912 and the Instructions to Depository
10-5 Regional depositories will provide reference service to
selective depository libraries in their region (see Title
44, United States Code, section 1912).
10-6 Regional depositories will advise and assist selective
depositories in their region in the interpretation of
"Guidelines for the Federal Depository Library Program" and in
preparation for GPO inspections.
10-7 Regional depositories will work with selective depositories
in their region to promote the effectiveness of
depository libraries and to publicize depository libraries to the
community. This work may include activities such
as conferences, workshops, community online network development,
union lists, user aids, and similar activities.
Cooperation with other professional, public interest, and
educational groups is encouraged towards these ends.