Depository Libraries Speak Volumes and We Read You, Loud and Clear

Mary Alice Baish Assistant Public Printer, Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO).

This special issue of the FDLP Connection is a wrap-up of the successful 2012 Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library Conference (Meeting & Conference) held October 15-18 in Arlington, Virginia. Whether or not you were able to attend the conference, we hope you enjoy the excellent program summaries written by our co-editors, Kelly Seifert and Cindy Etkin, and their colleagues in Library Services and Content Management (LSCM). The conference theme was, “Celebrating the Past, Building the Future Together.”

We celebrated several exciting milestones: the 40th anniversary of the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer (DLC), the 80th meeting of the DLC, the 20th Federal Depository Library Conference, and the 50th anniversary of the Depository Library Act of 1962. We also spent a considerable amount of time looking to the future. U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) staff shared with the community the preliminary results of the FDLP Forecast Study as the next step toward developing a Nation Plan for the future of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) in the digital age.

We would like to thank the 339 attendees who registered to attend the Meeting & Conference and the 153 virtual attendees of our daily FDLP Forecast Study sessions. Your participation contributed to lively dialogue and valuable networking. We would also like to extend a special thank you to all the presenters from the depository library community and our Federal agency partners. Sharing your projects, your experiences, and your expertise with librarians from all over the country contributed enormously to the success of the Meeting & Conference. We dedicate this special issue to all our attendees and speakers.

The Monday opening session of the Meeting & Conference was the opportune time for Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks to debut a new video that emphasizes the agency’s services and commitment to transforming GPO into the official, digital information platform for the Federal Government and provider of secure credentials. The video offers a visualization that complements the recently released GPO Strategic Plan for FY2013-2017. The Acting Public Printer discussed the plan and conveyed how GPO will continue to meet the information needs of Congress, Federal agencies, and the public with an emphasis on being Official, Digital, and Secure:

  • The public trusts that information published by GPO is the official word of the Government.
  • GPO uses the latest technologies to make information available in digital formats.
  • Federal agencies seek GPO’s expertise and services for their secure credential needs.

GPO headquarters was abuzz with activity Monday evening as Meeting & Conference attendees had the opportunity to explore the new GPO history exhibit that displays machine typesetting and its impact on the printing industry and worldwide communication from the early 1900s to the 1980s. The new exhibit parallels the worldwide release of an excellent documentary, Linotype: The Film. Attendees enjoyed a special showing of the documentary in which GPO and GPO employees are prominently featured.  

The reception in the GPO Bookstore following the film was a fun time for all. Following her welcoming remarks, Acting Public Printer Vance-Cooks presented a plaque to Hallie Pritchett, Map and Federal Regional Depository Librarian and REGIL chair, to recognize the University of Georgia for its service as a regional library. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Depository Library Act of 1962, we sent a plaque, along with a transmittal letter, to every regional library in mid-October, thanking them for their special contributions to the FDLP. Indeed we had much to celebrate this year.

Over the course of the four days, eight hours were devoted to “Building the Future Together” as GPO reported the preliminary findings of the individual Library and State Forecasts and State Focused Action Plans (SFAPs). I want to thank the directors and staff of depository libraries for their participation in the study. There was an overwhelming response to the questionnaires and SFAPs. You have spoken volumes, and GPO is listening.  

The preliminary reporting by GPO included responses from 775 Library Forecasts, 38 State Forecasts, and 33 SFAPs covering 39 states and territories. We extended the deadline for additional submissions to November 30, 2012, and the new data will be included in the FDLP Forecast Study final analysis.

As of the 30th, we now have 802 Library Forecasts (covering 50 states, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico) and 46 State Forecasts (covering 42 states and D.C., American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands). In addition, we have received 34 SFAPs covering 40 states and territories.

According to the preliminary data, the most frequent issues you communicated to us in your responses can be categorized under the following five overarching themes:

  • Program Governance (flexibility, retention, and withdrawal)
  • Preservation, Digitization, Access, & Harvesting
  • Training and Education
  • Cataloging and Bibliographic Control
  • Item Selection and Distribution

GPO is already taking action. During the FDLP Forecasting session held on Thursday, October 18, LSCM Director Jane Sanchez and I discussed how the findings from the Forecast Study will inform the 2013-2017 LSCM and FDLP strategic plans, as well as the FDLP National Plan. We described how we are responding to your expressed needs by examining what we are already doing that you may not be aware of; what we can do given current funding and staffing; what may be possible, but requires time given our annual budget cycle and staff level; and what requires a legal change. We are developing ways to provide more flexibility for depository libraries without having to wait for legislative changes to Title 44.

I encourage you to read more about the Meeting & Conference events in this issue of the FDLP Connection. The proceedings, transcripts, and FDLP Forecast Study recordings are available from fdlp.gov.

Celebrating the Holiday Season, A Time of Thanks

How time flies. It seems like the October Meeting & Conference was a mere few weeks ago and here we are already in the midst of the holiday season. Looking back upon the past year, I am extremely proud of all the accomplishments of the managers and staff of LSCM. From the outside, you would never guess how short staffed we are following last year’s buy-outs and other staff departures. The common expression of “doing more with less” doesn’t even begin to describe how energetically LSCM staff have taken on new projects and challenges and excelled at them. The FDLP Forecast Study, the automated Web harvesting pilot project, the impressive array of new virtual training offerings, and the launch of the new beta FDLP.gov are among their high-profile accomplishments.

Since her arrival at GPO on March 26, 2012, new LSCM Director Jane Sánchez has excelled at getting to know her staff and realigning the organization to better serve you, our stakeholders. I’m especially pleased that so many of you were able to spend time and get to know Jane during her very first Meeting & Conference. Jane and her talented team’s expertise, creativity, and commitment to serving the Federal depository library community and our agency partners are unparalleled.

I would also like to thank Chair Shari Laster and her DLC colleagues for their hard work and major contributions to the success of the Meeting & Conference. Members of the four DLC Working Groups on Collaboration, Education & Training, Sustainability, and Technology, offered excellent programs on important themes that contributed to the four-day dialog about the future of the FDLP.  We are very grateful to the valuable suggestions, advice, and support of DLC members since the early days of the Forecast Study. Hot off the press, DLC Chair Shari Laster has just submitted Council’s two recommendations from the Meeting & Conference, and we look forward to working with them on their implementation.

I am also grateful to all the deans, directors, and staff of our depository library partners for helping GPO connect “We, the people” of the United States with the Government information they need. We are all grateful to you for your overwhelming participation in the FDLP Forecast Study. You have given us a wealth of information and we read you, loud and clear. From all of us to all of you, happy holidays!