Revised April 1992

[ NOTE: This version of the Instructions to Depository Libraries is SUPERSEDED. The current year 2000 edition is linked HERE. ]

Chapter 19 of Title 44 of the U.S. Code is the authority for the establishment and operation of the Federal Depository Library Program. The legal responsibilities of Federal depository libraries fall into two broad categories: 1. Providing for free public access to Government information. 2. Providing for the proper maintenance of the depository materials entrusted to the individual depository's care. These two areas touch on nearly every aspect of library operations. The Instructions to Federal Depository Libraries have been issued in order to give more specific guidance on these areas.

Library Programs Service
Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, DC 20401

Staff Review Log

The documents coordinator and all staff who work with depository operations should review this publication semiannually. New depository staff, especially, should thoroughly review this publication before beginning depository work.

Name Date reviewed

Table of Contents

Introduction . . . . iv

Chapter 1 Federal Depository Status . . . . 1

Chapter 2 Collection Development . . . . 3

Chapter 3 Bibliographic Control . . . . 9

Chapter 4 Maintenance . . . . 15

Chapter 5 Human Resources . . . . 21

Chapter 6 Physical Facilities . . . . 23

Chapter 7 Public Service . . . . 25

Chapter 8 Cooperative Efforts . . . . 27

Chapter 9 Regional Services . . . . 31

Chapter 10 Common Questions Answered . . . . 35

Exhibits . . . . 39 [not included in this Web version]

Index . . . . 51.


Congress established the Federal Depository Library Program based upon three principles:

1. With certain specified exceptions, all Government publications shall be made available to Federal depository libraries.

2. Federal depository libraries shall be located in each State and U.S. Congressional district in order to make Government publications widely available.

3. These Government publications shall be available for the free use of the general public.

Chapter 19 of Title 44 of the U.S. Code is the authority for the establishment and operation of the Federal Depository Library Program. The legal responsibilities of Federal depository libraries fall into two broad categories:

1. Providing for free public access to Government information.

2. Providing for the proper maintenance of the depository materials entrusted to the individual depository's care.

These two areas touch on nearly every aspect of library operations.

The Instructions to Federal Depository Libraries have been issued in order to give more specific guidance on these areas. The Instructions are organized into nine chapters. Each chapter deals with a specific aspect of the depository operation.

The Instructions to Federal Depository Libraries are the official rules and regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program. All depositories must conform to the procedures set forth in these instructions.

Depository librarians must ensure that all personnel concerned with any aspect of the depository operation are made aware of the importance of the Instructions.

Depository staff should review the Instructions at least annually. If you have any questions about the areas covered by the Instructions or if you would like an additional copy of the Instructions, please write to:

Chief, Depository Services
U.S. Government Printing Office
Library Programs Service (SLL)
Washington, DC 20401

Chapter 1 Federal Depository Status

A. Federal Depository Library Program
B. Designation
C. Types of Designations
D. Depository Termination Procedure
E. Additional Information

The Federal Depository Library Program originated in the early 1800's when a joint resolution of Congress directed that additional copies of the House and Senate Journals and other documents be printed and distributed to institutions outside the Federal establishment.

From that small beginning, the Federal Depository Library Program has grown into a system of close to 1400 Federal depository libraries. These libraries include many of the most prestigious libraries in the country as well as smaller local libraries. With few exceptions, all Congressional districts and territories of the United States have at least one Federal depository library.

B. Designation

The Federal Depository Library Program has been established to provide for free public access to information produced by the Federal Government. While many libraries request status as a Federal Depository to benefit their primary patrons (students, judges, residents of a political jurisdiction, etc.), all libraries that apply for status make a legal commitment to provide Government information to all of the people of the local U.S. Congressional district or relevant region.

Your library is an official depository for U.S. Government publications. It has been designated as such in one of the following ways:

1. By the U.S. Representative who currently represents your Congressional district or a predecessor;

2. By one of your State's current U.S. Senators or a predecessor;

3. By virtue of being a State Library;

4. By virtue of being a land-grant college library;

5. By virtue of being the highest Appellate Court Library in the State;

6. By virtue of being the library of a Federal executive department, independent agency or service academy;

7. By virtue of being the library of an accredited law school;

8. By special act of Congress.

In accepting the privilege of Federal depository library status, you have agreed to abide fully by the law and regulations governing officially designated Federal depository libraries.

C. Types of Designations

There are two ways in which libraries can be designated Federal depositories. Most libraries receive Federal depository status through designation by an elected or appointed Federal official. A smaller number of libraries, called "by-law" depositories, receive depository status through special provisions of Title 44, United States Code.

D. Depository Termination Procedure

If for any reason the library finds that it cannot meet the legal obligations set forth in the Instructions, the library has the right to voluntarily relinquish its depository privilege by addressing a letter to the Superintendent of Documents stating that the library no longer wishes to be a depository for U.S. Government publications. If the library is served by a designated regional depository, the regional should also be notified of this decision.

A library's depository status may be terminated by the Superintendent of Documents if the library fails to meet the requirements as set forth in the law, or consistently disregards notices and instructions, resulting in unnecessary expense to the Government in administering the program.

Upon termination of the depository privilege, either by request or for cause, the library shall request instructions from its regional depository concerning disposition to be made of the depository publications on hand. If the library is not served by a designated regional depository, instructions will be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents.

If the library wishes to keep certain publications which were received under the depository program, it may so request. The library must submit a list of the depository publications it wishes to keep to the regional library (or to the Superintendent of Documents in the absence of a regional). A written request for permanent retention of the materials should accompany the list.

Each request will be reviewed on an individual basis and the depository library will be advised of the decision. All Government publications supplied under the Federal Depository Library Program remain the property of the United States Government even after a library relinquishes its depository status.

E. Additional Information

Additional information concerning depository designation and/or termination procedures can be obtained by contacting:

Chief, Depository Services
U.S. Government Printing Office
Library Programs Service (SLL)
Washington, DC 20401

Chapter 2 Collection Development

A. Purpose
B. Scope of Collection Development
C. Materials Available for Selection
D. Item Number Selections
E. Selection
F. Additions
G. Deletions
H. Selective Housing

Congress established the Federal Depository Library Program to help fulfill its responsibility to inform the public on the policies and programs of the Federal Government. All depositories share in this responsibility.

Providing free public access to Government information is the rationale given by public officials when they designate a depository library; therefore, the Government information needs of the general public must influence the collection development of depository libraries.

B. Scope of Collection Development

A majority of libraries that are designated depositories have, as their primary mission, a commitment to serve a particular patron group (students, judges, etc.). While these libraries focus collection development most closely on the needs of their primary patrons, they must not ignore the Government information needs of the general public.

Most depositories are designated to serve a particular U.S. Congressional district, but the number of depositories in a Congressional district, the size of the Congressional district, the type of library, and even the existence of established interlibrary cooperative arrangements, could dictate a local public service area other than the U.S. Congressional district.

These local public service areas, if different from the Congressional district, should be negotiated among neighboring depositories, to ensure that all areas of the Congressional district are served.

All depositories should select the publications listed as the "basic collection" found in the Guidelines for the Depository Library System. Relevant indexes should be available in the depository to facilitate access to the resources of the documents collection.

As it is increasingly difficult for one depository to meet the Government information demands of a varied population, the collection development of a depository should not be considered in isolation. The depository library system is a system of cooperating libraries. All depositories are part of this larger system.

Depository libraries, either solely or in conjunction with neighboring depositories, will make demonstrable efforts to identify and meet the Government information needs of the Congressional district or local area.

One demonstrable effort is the formulation and implementation of a written depository collection development policy which specifically articulates the library's strategy for identifying and meeting the Government information needs of the local area.

The collection development policy should also address procedures for obtaining documents requested by patrons but not selected by the library; inter-depository coordination of selections; resources available locally; and interlibrary loan services. This policy can be formulated using the same criteria discussed in Section 2 of the Federal Depository Library Manual.

C. Materials Available for Selection

The basis for selection is the List of Classes of United States Government Publications Available for Selection by Depository Libraries and the Union List of Item Selections. The latter publication is available only in microfiche.

These lists include those series or groups of publications having a public or educational value which are issued by the various departments and agencies of the U.S. Government. Excluded from the lists are publications issued for strictly administrative or operational purposes which have no public interest or educational value, those classified for reasons of national security, and so-called "cooperative publications."

Cooperative publications are documents which are self-sustaining. Their continued existence depends on funds raised by selling copies of the publication. For this reason, they are not available for free distribution through the Federal Depository Library Program.

Entries for these publications do appear in the Monthly Catalog. Such titles as the National Union Catalog and the National Park Service Trends, Grist, and Design fall within this category.

Depository libraries should also consider selecting items from the Federal Depository Library Manual's "core collections." The Government Printing Office's Subject Bibliographies and the Publications Reference File (PRF) should also be reviewed in order to make informed collection development decisions.

D. Item Number Selections

Depository libraries select documents by categories. Each category is identified by a unique item number. One set of item cards, arranged in item number order, is furnished to all new depository libraries. This set consists of a 3x5 card for each item number, which may be comprised of one or more series available for selection by depository libraries. Each card gives item number, issuing agency, series title, Superintendent of Documents classification number, format, and annotation. These cards must be kept and maintained by the library.

The item number assigned to a series remains the controlling number for that series regardless of change of title, transfer of the series or its publisher within the Government, or change in the name of the issuing agency.

An item number assigned to a series may also govern the distribution of closely related series of a similar nature (e.g., numbered manuals with similar content issued by the same agency). In this instance, the library selecting this item would also receive the related series as well.

For agencies whose scope and publications issuances are limited (e.g. Fine Arts Commission), one item number has been established to cover all publications issued. In such cases, the series name entry on the item card will read "Reports and Publications."

GPO annually issues a computer printout so that each depository library may change its selection of items. Detailed information on selections is furnished at this time.

It is important to remember that new item selections from the annual selection update take effect after October 1. Libraries cannot claim new selections before that time.

Changes to your selection profile are made by returning to the Library Programs Service the green postal cards, GPO Form 3495, Amendment of Selections, properly identified with your assigned depository library number and signature. Deletion of selections can be made at any time.

The printed list entitled List of Classes of U.S. Government Publications Available for Selection by Depository Libraries is revised and furnished to depositories on a quarterly basis. Depositories should use this list to keep the item cards updated. The List of Classes and Administrative Notes should also be consulted when making new selections to determine whether the series is still active.

It is important that selections by a library be centrally coordinated within the library and that records be kept accurately to avoid misunderstandings. Libraries are notified when new series are added to the item numbers through announcements in the Depository Shipping List and Administrative Notes.

E. Selection

Selective depositories are not required to receive all U.S. Government publications which are made available to depositories. Select only those items best suited to the needs of your local area and Congressional district.

In order to meet these public needs, the library's percentage of item number selections needs to be appropriate for the type and size of the library. An appropriate level of selections should be at least half the average item selection rate of libraries of similar type and size. Exceptions will be made for depositories which can document that their current selection rate effectively meets public needs.

Depositories should undertake an annual zero based review of their current item number selections. Item number selections and deletions should be made once a year as part of a comprehensive documents collection development policy.

Your regional depository receives all depository items. Depend upon the regional for seldom used items.

Item number selections and item number deletions are made by using GPO Form 3495 (the green postal cards) entitled Amendment of Selections (see Exhibit I).

F. Additions

Additions to the library's previous selections can be made only during the annual update cycle or when new series are surveyed. The sole exception to this rule occurs when material has been printed in earlier years and then is held by GPO until it can be bound.

A good example of this exceptional treatment is the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, which is not bound and distributed until long after it is printed. In order for libraries to be eligible to receive the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, selection must be made prior to the beginning of the session of the Congress it covers.

New selections from the annual item selection update cycle (which usually occurs in May) are not implemented until the following October (i.e., you will not receive these selections until the following October). New depositories receive a set of item cards when they are designated; they can immediately make selections and return the cards to GPO. They will begin receiving items they have selected within one month.

Publications cannot be furnished retroactively. New selections can only be furnished to libraries as new items are ordered printed by the issuing agency. Only series for which item cards have been furnished can be added to a depository's selections.

Occasionally, GPO receives only a limited number of copies of a publication from a department or agency for distribution to depository libraries. These copies are sent to all designated regional depositories; the remainder are made available to selective depositories through a "special offer" on a first-come, first-served basis. These materials are usually retrospective runs of series. These special offers are announced through Administrative Notes and notices on the depository shipping lists.

Notifications of new series are made on Survey Shipping Lists and distributed to all depository libraries. One set of "item cards" and an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) scannable form accompany each survey.

Extreme care should be taken in completing the OCR scannable forms. If the scanner does not record the selected items for the correct library, the publications will not be received. Mail all surveys to the address shown on the Survey Shipping List.

Examples of the survey materials you will use are shown in Exhibits F, G, and H. Regional depositories are not required to return OCR scanning forms as they automatically receive all materials made available under the Federal Depository Library Program.

G. Deletions

All selections should be reviewed at least once a year to ascertain their appropriateness and to adjust selections to the changing Government information needs of patrons. If some currently selected items are judged inappropriate for the collection, these items should be deleted from your selection profile.

Item deletions can be made at any time using GPO Form 3495. When an item is dropped, all previous issues of the publication must still be retained for the usual five-year period before they can be offered on a regional discard list. If the State is not served by a regional library, publications must be retained permanently. See Chapter 4, part D of these Instructions for further details on retention requirements and discarding procedures.

H. Selective Housing

A library may selectively house a percentage of its depository publications at other libraries or institutions. The designated library will still be responsible for these materials, and for their receipt, initial processing, and discard.

If the library director does not administer the site of the selectively housed collection, a "Memorandum of Agreement" (MOA) must be drawn up outlining the host institution's responsibilities to provide for free public access, and to maintain the records and materials in the documents collection. An example of a selective housing MOA can be found in the Federal Depository Library Manual. A copy of the memorandum must be sent to the Chief, GPO Depository Services Staff, and to the regional library (if applicable). All Government publications supplied under the Federal Depository Library Program remain the property of the United States Government.

Chapter 3 Bibliographic Control

A. Bibliographic Control
B. Shipping List
C. Direct Mail & Separates
D. Processing
E. Arrangement
F. Claims
G. Duplicates

A. Bibliographic Control

Many documents are extremely time sensitive. All shipments should be unpacked and processed as they are received. Failure to do so can result in the loss of your depository status.

As all depositories are the legally responsible custodians of Government property, each depository will maintain a holdings record to the piece level of all depository selections regardless of format. A comprehensive shelflist is the preferred holdings record.

This record keeping requirement does not mean that a shelflist card has to be generated for each piece. For instance, the holdings record for some map series could be comprised of a basic shelflist card for the map series plus checking-off the appropriate quadrangles of maps received on the index map.

A depository shelflist can be in either paper or electronic format. A depository holdings record can be part of a larger all-encompassing library record or it can be comprised of a number of records that together make up a comprehensive holdings record for documents.

The library must mark all depository materials, regardless of format, in some manner to distinguish these items from nondepository materials. All depository materials should be dated with either the shipping list date or the date of processing. The date will identify depository material eligible for discarding five years after receipt.

As cataloging greatly enhances accessibility, cataloging all or part of the documents collection is recommended. Cataloged as well as uncataloged documents can be arranged according to the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) classification system, other classification systems, or a combination of systems.

Conduct annual zero-based item selection reviews. Drop unneeded items. Of course adding needed items is always an option.

B. Shipping List

The Superintendent of Documents has distributed depository shipping lists since August 1, 1951. Besides listing all the publications in a complete shipment, the shipping list also indicates the item numbers under which the publications were distributed, the titles and series numbers of the publications, the Superintendent of Documents classification numbers, and GPO sales information, when applicable.

The shipping list is also used by GPO as a quick means of informing depository libraries of: corrections to previous lists, special publications which are available upon individual request, changes in the List of Classes, additions to item numbers, and other special announcements pertaining to the Federal Depository Library Program. (See Exhibits A - F for sample shipping lists.)

As important and necessary information is often conveyed via the shipping list, each shipping list should be carefully reviewed by the library staff.

If any information given on a shipping list is incorrect, the mistake will be corrected on a special "Corrections" shipping list. These lists are easy to recognize as they are printed on pink paper. The correction shipping list will cite the number of the inaccurate shipping list and will provide any information needed to revise the original entry on the shipping list or in the library's records (see Exhibit E for sample).

Regional depositories receive one paper format shipping list per shipment box. Electronic shipping lists may also be sent one shipment per box. Microfiche format boxes sometimes contain more than one regional shipment per box.

The content of a regional's shipment box is referred to as a complete shipment; therefore the content of one shipping list is referred to as a "complete" shipment.

As most selective depositories select only a percentage of the total items available for selection, they receive only partial shipments, a subset of what appears on the shipping list (e.g. only those items previously selected by the library, which appear on the shipping list).

As shipment boxes are held until full, selectives often receive several partial shipments, and their corresponding shipping lists, in a single shipment box. Every depository library receives a copy of every depository shipping list even if none of the items listed on a particular shipping list were selected by the library.

There are three sequential numbering series for the materials distributed from GPO: one for paper documents (P), one for microfiche documents (M), and one for electronic publications (E).

A sequence of shipping lists for calendar year 1993 is shown

Paper Microfiche Electronic 93-0001-P 93-0001-M 93-0001-E 93-0002-P 93-0002-M 93-0002-E 93-0003-P 93-0003-M 93-0003-E

At the beginning of the next calendar year (1994) the sequence is repeated.

     94-0001-P 94-0001-M 94-0001-E

The first two digits indicate the calendar year; the next number is the sequential number of the shipping list, and the letter indicates the format of the materials included on that shipping list.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) distributes maps on shipping lists numbered the same way as the GPO shipping lists, excluding the final letter. The Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) distributes its maps with unnumbered packing slips, not with shipping lists.

C. Direct Mail & Separates

"Separates" are materials that are not sent to depositories in regular shipment boxes; they are too large for regular boxes or they need special handling before they can be shipped. Separates include maps and charts (distributed from GPO), pre-packaged publications, and over-sized publications. These publications are mailed to depository libraries as they are received by GPO.

Special shipping lists that list only separates are compiled and sent to depository libraries. (See Exhibit D for a sample of this type of shipping list.) These "separates" shipping lists are clearly marked and they are numbered as part of the GPO paper format shipping list numbering sequence. The shipping list containing separates is usually mailed at least once a week. Claiming procedures for separates are the same as for regular shipments.

Certain publications are not listed on the shipping lists, for reasons of timeliness. Some publications are mailed automatically by another section of GPO. The Commerce Business Daily and the Federal Register are examples of publications that fall into this category. These publications are collectively referred to as "direct mail" publications.

D. Processing

Several "complete" shipments are mailed each working day from GPO. Regional depositories usually receive one complete shipment per box; but the shipment box a selective depository receives may contain several partial shipments. Upon receipt of a shipment box, the shipping list numbers must be checked or logged to ensure that all shipping lists have been received.

As shipping lists are distributed in numerical order, it should not be difficult to discover a missing shipping list. In the event that a shipment does not contain a particular shipping list or the shipping list is mutilated, please contact depository staff at a neighboring depository or the regional library and ask them to forward a photocopy of the missing shipping list.

You may always request a replacement copy of a shipping list from GPO using the Depository Library Inquiry Form. However, it will usually be much faster to ask a nearby depository for a photocopy than to have GPO forward a copy to your library.

The contents of the shipment box should immediately be checked against the shipping list(s) and the item numbers selected. Please review the Federal Depository Library Manual for advice on processing incoming shipment boxes.

When a SuDocs classification number is questioned, check any recent correction shipping lists and also the OCLC record for subfield "z" in the "086" field for a canceled classification number before contacting GPO for clarification. Correction shipping lists may be discarded after the necessary corrections or additions are made.

Shipping lists do not have to be maintained after they have been initially checked, but many depository libraries find it useful to retain them for approximately six months.

E. Arrangement

Although most depositories arrange the majority of their documents holdings in SuDocs classification number order, many Federal Government publications are valuable as reference and bibliographic sources, and can easily be made an integral part of a reference or periodical collection.

There are many advantages to using the SuDocs classification system. Librarians have found the SuDocs class numbers to be a practical and economical method for organizing Federal Government documents. Practical use of the depository's holdings, in conformance with professionally accepted library standards and the Instructions, should dictate the arrangement of the depository material.

The SuDocs classification number ought to be placed on all documents. Use of the SuDocs number facilitates identification of materials from SuDocs citations, as well as updating and discarding procedures. As the SuDocs number is commonly used by many other depository libraries, it provides a specific identification for borrowing and simplifies compiling or checking discard lists. Please refer to the GPO Classification Manual for further information.

F. Claims

If selected items on the shipping list are missing from the shipment, they should be claimed immediately. It is important to remember that separates could come either before or after the "separate" shipping list. Wait seven working days before claiming a missing separate.

To claim publications missing from a shipment box, use the shipping list/claim form (see Exhibits A - D). The form may be mailed or faxed to GPO. Use the shipping list/claims form only to request publications selected but not received.

Remember that there is approximately a three-month delay between the deadline for returning item selection changes to GPO (annual item selection update cycle) and the date on which your amended selections become effective. Claims should not be made for publications selected in the annual update cycle but whose selection is not yet in effect.

Claim forms should not be used as a means of replacing publications lost, stolen or mutilated after receipt.

Always give complete information (i.e., item number, SuDocs classification number, and correct series or publication title) when writing concerning depository publications. Additional information on how and when to contact the Government Printing Office can be found in Section 1 of the Federal Depository Library Manual.

With the exception of direct mail items that are currently selected by the library, only the items on a shipping list can be claimed. A claim is for an item (a publication or issue of a publication) which has been selected and appears on the shipping list, but is not in the shipment box. It is important to remember that new item selections from the annual selection update take effect after October 1. Libraries cannot claim new selections before that time.

All claims for non-receipt of publications must be postmarked within 60 days from receipt of the shipping list. Claims for entire missing shipments also have a 60-day deadline. All claims should be made as soon as possible.

Do not claim "raincheck" items. When these publications are reprinted they will be distributed to the libraries. Do not use serial claim forms or any method other than the shipping lists to claim depository materials. Do not make a second claim for the same item. Use the Depository Library Inquiry Form instead. Refer to Section 1 of the Federal Depository Library Manual for information on dealing with chronic claim problems.

The Library Programs Service of the Government Printing Office honors claims as long as a supply of claims copies remains available, and will make every effort to provide fast and accurate service to depository libraries. However, as GPO retains only 20 claims copies, the supply can be quickly exhausted. Your claim form will be returned to you stamped "claims copies exhausted" if GPO cannot honor your claim.

Libraries are urged to exercise caution in claiming documents. Due to the limited number of claims copies available, every mistaken claim may deprive another library of a legitimate claim copy.

If the library receives a defective copy of a publication, make a claim for the publication just as if it were never received. Keep the defective copy until the claim copy is received. Claim publications only when absolutely necessary, as the number of claims copies at GPO are limited. Once the library has replaced a defective copy with a claims copy, the defective copy may be discarded. Do not send the defective copy to GPO and do not offer it on a discard list to the regional.

From time to time, the Superintendent of Documents will ask depositories to return a specific publication to GPO because it is defective. This request occurs when the publishing agency needs the defective copies in order to furnish GPO with corrected copies. Please comply with such requests before the deadline given by GPO.

To claim a publication selected but not received:

1. Use a black or blue pen to draw a circle around the shipping list entry of the item being claimed.

2. Stamp the shipping list with your depository number/date received stamp in the upper right corner of the shipping list.

3. Completely fill out the bottom portion of the shipping list, including:

a. the Document Librarian's signature b. depository library number c. shipping list number d. library name and full mailing address.

4. Keep a photocopy of the shipping list for your records at least until the claim has been acted upon by GPO.

5. The documents librarian must personally check every claim made.

6. Claims can be mailed or faxed to GPO.

Mail the original copy of your shipping list to the following address:

For paper format and separates:

U.S. Government Printing Office
Library Programs Service (SLDM)
Paper Claims
Washington, DC 20401

For microfiche format claims:

U.S. Government Printing Office
Library Programs Service (SLDM)
Microfiche Claims
Washington, DC 20401

For electronic format claims:

U.S. Government Printing Office
Library Programs Service (SLDM)
Electronic Claims
Washington, DC 20401

For USGS map claims and replacements:

Chief, Earth Science Information Management Branch
U.S. Geological Survey
509 National Center
Reston, VA 22092

Map claims may be faxed to USGS on 703-648-5939.

For DMA map claims and replacements:

Defense Mapping Agency
Combat Support Center - PPO
Attn: Depository Manager
Washington, DC 20315

For "Direct Mail" claims use the "Depository Library Inquiry Form" (see Exhibit J) and send it to the address for paper format claims.

To fax claims to GPO, including those for direct mail:

Fax: (202) 512-1431 and (202) 512-1429 for claims only.

Incoming faxes sometimes overload GPO fax machines. In order to avoid times of heavy fax traffic, faxed claims should be made during specified times of the day, depending on the library's time zone, according to the following schedule:

     8:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.

Central & Mountain 1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.

Pacific 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Many fax machines can be set to transmit at a pre-determined time, such as at night to take advantage of lower transmission rates. Claims may be faxed in before 8:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m., Eastern time, by libraries in any time zone.

G. Duplicates

If the library receives a duplicate copy of a publication, the duplicate may be discarded immediately or offered on a discard list to the regional library. It is important to remember that when one library receives a duplicate shipment or publication, it probably means that some other library has not received a shipment.

If your library should receive a duplicate shipment, please check the box's mailing label and/or the depository library number written on one of the box's top flaps, to determine if the shipment should have gone to another library. If this is the case, or if duplicates become a chronic problem, follow the directions in the Federal Depository Library Manual.

Chapter 4 Maintenance

A. Proprietary Interest
B. Insuring Depository Collections
C. Discards-General Information
D. Discards by Selective Depositories
E. Discards by Regional Depositories
F. Discards by Federal Libraries
G. Discards by Highest State Appellate Court
H. Secondary Copies
I. Superseded Publications
J. Substitution of Depository Materials
K. Microfiche
L. Maps
M. Posters
N. Electronic Products

A. Proprietary Interest

All Government publications supplied to depository libraries under the Federal Depository Library Program remain the property of the United States Government and may not be disposed of, except as outlined in Chapter 4 of these Instructions. All depository materials must be housed in such a way as to facilitate preservation and access.

As your library is entrusted with the custody of depository materials, the library must ensure that these materials are properly preserved and protected. As a minimum standard for the care and maintenance of depository property, the Government Printing Office insists that the maintenance accorded to depository materials be no less than that given to commercially purchased publications.

Depository materials which are lost, worn out or damaged should be subject to the same replacement policy that the library maintains for non-Government materials. The depository will pay for replacement copies. Claims will not be filled for this material.

Many Government agencies find it necessary to issue publications unbound or in paper covers. Libraries are expected to include these publications in their binding program, along with books, periodicals, and other privately purchased materials. Binders are not furnished for loose-leaf material unless the issuing agency includes them as part of its publication. Looseleaf materials must be orderly arranged, easily accessible and updated when necessary.

As part of a regular schedule of shelfreading, the library should systematically identify and remove superseded materials, according to the instructions in part I, below. Microfiche must be stored in sturdy, acid free containers. Shipping materials (rubber bands, shrink wrap, etc.) must be removed.

B. Insuring Depository Collections

It would be both advisable and prudent to carry insurance covering the Federal depository part of your holdings. If the depository collection were to suffer any loss as a result of negligence on the part of the library, the Government could make a claim against the library for the amount of loss. Thus, depository libraries have an insurable interest, although GPO is not in a position to provide guidance as to the appropriate formula for establishing the level of coverage.

As a minimum standard for the care and maintenance of depository property, the protection given to depository materials must be no less than that given to commercially acquired publications. Most libraries carry insurance and base their insurance estimates on the cost of replacing a similar number of volumes from their commercially acquired collections. A blanket policy may therefore be sufficient. Also, as the institution responsible for the maintenance of these materials, the library should make all necessary claims, just as if it owned the materials.

In the event of a natural disaster, the library must immediately inform the Superintendent of Documents in writing. The library must then make every reasonable effort to replace or repair the Government property that has been lost or damaged. As GPO does not maintain retrospective stock, the library might find it difficult to completely replace all missing items.

As a minimum effort, however, State discard lists, GPO, the national "Needs and Offers" list, United States Book Exchange, and commercial vendors should be canvassed in an attempt to replace those materials lost.

C. Discards-General Information

Documents distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program are, and remain, Government property. Depository libraries are entrusted with the maintenance of these materials while they are in the custody of the library. Depository libraries may discard these materials only in the manner prescribed by these Instructions or at the direction of a GPO official. Failure to conform to proper discard procedures can result in loss of depository status and/or legal action against the responsible parties.

The Government Printing Office is entrusted by the Congress with the stewardship of depository materials, both as tangible property and as intellectual property for free distribution and public use. Only the Public Printer, the Superintendent of Documents, or their agents can legitimately order a library to withdraw a document from its depository holdings. The Superintendent of Documents may order documents withdrawn for reasons of national security, incorrect or misleading information in a publication, or for any other cause deemed to be in the public's interest.

Libraries cannot materially benefit from the disposal of depository holdings as these materials remain Government property. If, after following the procedures listed below, the depository materials entrusted to you are sold as publications or as waste paper, the proceeds with a letter of explanation must be sent to the Superintendent of Documents. Depository materials may never be bartered for goods and/or services.

Only the first copy of a particular publication is considered the depository copy. This first depository copy must be discarded according to the procedures set forth in the Instructions. Any additional copies (duplicates), preprints (after the final copy has been printed) or reprints, are collectively referred to as "secondary" copies and should be disposed of according to the procedures described in part H, Secondary Copies, below.

The instructions in parts A, B & C of this chapter apply to all depository libraries.

D. Discards by Selective Depositories

The instructions contained in part D apply to all selective depositories except for Federal libraries and the libraries of the highest Appellate Court of the states. These libraries are covered in parts F and G respectively.

Depository libraries not served by a designated regional depository library must permanently retain one copy of all Government publications received through depository distribution, except for superseded publications, or those issued later in another format (bound, microfiche, or electronic media). Government publications received from sources other than the Federal Depository Library Program may be disposed of as secondary copies or at the discretion of the individual libraries.

Depository libraries served by a regional depository may dispose of any publication which has been retained for at least five years, after obtaining permission and receiving instructions for such disposition from the regional depository designated to serve their area.

Because of the various methods of record-keeping employed (manual files, online records, etc.), selective depositories will obtain guidance from their regional depository library on the format and procedures to be followed in formulating discard lists.

After following the regional's discarding procedure, the selective library may treat the offered publication as a secondary copy, if neither the regional library nor the selective libraries in the State wish to obtain it. See part H, below, for procedures for handling secondary copies.

E. Discards by Regional Depositories

All regional depositories must retain at least one copy of every publication received through depository distribution, except for those publications listed as superseded for regional libraries. The regional should treat those discards from its library as "secondary" publications.

The regional library plays a primary role in the disposal of depository materials. The responsibilities of regional libraries regarding the handling of selective depository discards are detailed in part C of Chapter 9 of these Instructions.

F. Discards by Federal Libraries

Depository discard procedures are different for Federal libraries. Depository libraries within executive departments and independent agencies of the Federal Government, as well as Federal Court libraries, may dispose of unwanted Government publications after offering them to the Exchange and Gift Division of the Library of Congress or to the Archivist of the United States.

If agency regulations permit, the library might also offer depository materials to the nearest regional library. Federal libraries wishing to dispose of depository materials should contact the Exchange and Gift Division of the Library of Congress for directions on discarding.

Their phone number is (202) 707-9511. The address is:

Library of Congress
Exchange and Gift Division
Madison Building, Room 632
Washington, DC 20540

G. Discards by Highest State Appellate Court Libraries

Although part A of this chapter refers to all Federal depository libraries, the highest state appellate court libraries that have been designated under Section 1915 of Title 44, United States Code, have special rights. Under Federal law, they are not obligated to provide for free access; they do not have to retain publications for five years before discarding; and they do not have to discard depository materials through the regional library. This does not mean that the Federal Government has relinquished its proprietary rights to this material. All depository materials remain the property of the United States Government. Depository libraries that were designated under the provisions of Section 1915 will discard their depository holdings under the provisions established for discarding secondary copies in part H of this chapter.

H. Secondary Copies

Secondary copies are defined as depository materials which are duplicates (including reprints), superseded (including preprints), unrequested documents sent from GPO by mistake, or the depository holdings of the highest State Appellate Court libraries.

Libraries have the option of offering secondary copies to the Regional library or on statewide discard lists, if the Regional so desires. All depository libraries should offer any secondary publications of value through the national "Needs and Offers" list. This procedure will make the best use of Government publications for the benefit of all depository libraries.

After this procedure has been followed to its conclusion, the library is then free to offer these depository materials to any public library or educational institution in the vicinity. Failing to find such a recipient after reasonable effort, the library may dispose of the publications at its discretion.

I. Superseded Publications

Publications, maps and other depository materials which are superseded may be treated as secondary materials as soon as the update or the final version of the publication is distributed by GPO. Individual titles, serials, and series can be found on the list of superseded documents.

J. Substitution of Depository Materials

Permission is granted to all designated depositories to substitute copies of other formats for any depository holdings, provided that the copies are properly referenced, can be readily located and are easily accessible to users. Proper reading equipment must also be available for micrographic or electronic format copy substituted for the original.

The substitute copies will then be treated as depository materials and will be subject to the same rules and regulations that govern the care and treatment of depository materials.

As all depository materials remain the property of the United States Government, depository holdings replaced by acquired copies must be offered to the regional library per Chapter 4, part H of these Instructions. The original depository copy must be offered on the regional library's discard list before the end of the five year retention period, if acquired copies have already replaced the original depository holdings. Libraries may not barter or exchange the original depository paper copy for a substitute. The original copies belong to the Government, not to the library.

K. Microfiche

The recommended storage temperature for microform collections is 68°F with a constant humidity level of 40%. The most important factor to consider is constancy; the temperature and humidity range should not fluctuate often, and not beyond 75°F or 50% humidity. For this reason, it is recommended that microforms not be stored on outer walls, nor on the ground or top floors of a building; they should be kept away from air vents, radiators and direct sunlight. Temperatures and humidity higher than the recommended levels can create fungal growth, blemishes, and chemical deterioration. Lower than recommended levels can cause brittleness.

Microfiche must be stored vertically (on edge and upright) in acid-free containers. The envelopes in which the Government Printing Office microfiche is shipped are acid-free, as are the inserted dividers. All paper products used in the storage of microforms (boxes, dividers, labels, envelopes) should have a pH factor of 7.0 or above. Envelopes may be eliminated to save space. Store no more than five microfiche per envelope.

Steel cabinets made with baked-on inert enamel finishes, stainless steel or aluminum, are recommended as storage facilities. They should have a fire rating of at least one hour. Plastic boxes, unless constructed of non-deteriorating plastic, can adversely affect microfiche. Silver halide microfiche should not be stored in the same cabinets as diazo or vesicular microfiche. One hundred microfiche require approximately 1 inch of space in a 4" x 6" drawer (exclusive of filing guides and dividers).

Storage areas should have permanently installed smoke and heat detectors operating at all times to warn of fire. Dry chemical and carbon dioxide extinguishers should be available.

Do not use rubber bands or paper clips to store microfiche. Rubber bands often contain sulfur and are particularly damaging to silver halide microfiche over extended periods of time.

L. Maps

Sheet maps should be housed flat and not folded, in sturdy, acid-free map cases. Maps can be stored in either vertical or horizontal map cases. Smaller maps that accompany other publications may be housed with the publication on the shelf or separately in a map case. If the map is housed separately from its parent publication, a notation should be made to that effect in the depository holdings record.

Maps are often housed in a different location some distance away from the rest of the documents collection. If this other location is not under the administrative control of the director of your library, a selective housing Memorandum of Agreement must be initiated between your library and the selective housing site. Please refer to Chapter 2, part H of the Instructions for further information on selective housing of depository materials.

Maps are subject to the same processing procedures as other depository materials. It is the library's responsibility to ensure that maps that arrive through the Federal Depository Library Program are handled according to the rules and regulations established in these Instructions, whether the maps are housed directly in the library or selectively housed off-site.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) maps are sent directly from the issuing agency. USGS produces the shipping lists for its publications, listing them by item number. DMA ships its maps and includes a packing slip which lists map numbers. Please refer to the Federal Depository Library Manual for additional information concerning depository maps.

M. Posters

Posters should be housed flat and not folded or kept rolled. The preservation and proper housing of posters need not prevent them from being viewed by the public. Documents usage is a goal of the Federal Depository Library Program. Posters can and should be displayed whenever possible. Depositories may lend individual posters or series of posters to other libraries, schools or other institutions where they might be seen and used.

The processing, handling and discard of posters follows the procedures set forth for other documents.

N. Electronic Products

As with other depository material, there can be no disparity of treatment of electronic products vis-a-vis other library materials. As a minimum standard, the maintenance of electronic media distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program should be comparable to maintenance standards established for electronic media acquired by the library through commercial sources.

Owing to the delicate nature of electronic materials, particularly floppy diskettes, they should be housed in environments that protect them from bending, scratching, or crushing. Exposure to dust, temperature extremes, and magnetic fields (such as telephones, security strip desensitizers) should be avoided.

Libraries should obtain furniture or equipment that is specifically designed for using and housing electronic products. The preferred solution is an arrangement that both protects the product and allows it to be readily accessible through local area networking. All electronic products that are stored in cabinets should be placed in a covering such as the floppy disk jackets or compact disk jewel cases for protection. .

Chapter 5 Human Resources

A. Responsible Officials
B. Staffing
C. Training

A. Responsible Officials

The Director of the library designated as a Federal Depository is responsible for insuring that the depository operation conforms to the legal requirements of the Federal Depository Library Program. The Director or the Director's designee (commonly called the Documents Librarian) coordinates all depository activities within the library.

The responsible official should be a professional librarian. Any depository collections and/or operations outside the jurisdiction of the Director of the designated library must be covered by a selective housing Memorandum of Agreement (discussed in Chapter 2, part H of the Instructions).

B. Staffing

Both professional and paraprofessional staffing levels must be sufficient, in terms of hours allocated to the depository and in staff expertise, to meet the depository responsibilities detailed in these Instructions.

Clerical assistance for the initial processing of documents should be equal to at least 1 hour per week per percent of item numbers selected.

Public service coverage for members of the general public using depository resources must be comparable, in terms of hours of service, degree of assistance and professional expertise of staff, to that service given to the library's primary patrons.

C. Training

The library is responsible for providing training for all staff involved in depository operations. Opportunities and resources should be provided for the initial and continuing education of staff on depository responsibilities and operations. Cross training of staff is recommended to enhance depository services to the general public.

In order to ensure an efficient and effective depository operation, depository staff members should attend local and national meetings devoted to depository related issues. If local depository interests groups have not been established, the library should consider initiating such a group.

Chapter 6 Physical Facilities

A. Physical Access
B. Housing
C. Equipment
D. Signage

A. Physical Access

The library should ensure that the physical facilities of the depository enhance and encourage free public access to the resources of the depository. Depository operations must be entirely situated in an environment that facilitates access to and usage of depository resources.

Depositories should be well lighted, comfortable, attractive, clean, and have sufficient seating for depository patrons. There should be no significant physical barriers to depository resources for physically disabled patrons. The depository must offer free and unrestricted physical access to all depository resources to the general public. Documents housed outside of the depository library must be retrievable within twenty-four hours.

B. Housing

Adequate housing must be provided to properly house all depository materials, regardless of format. This housing must be sufficient to control, protect and preserve all depository holdings, regardless of format.

The proper environment for housing depository materials is discussed in Chapter 4 of these Instructions. Depositories can house documents in facilities other than the depository library; these off-site facilities must conform to these standards.

C. Equipment

The depository must provide sufficient equipment for the public to read microfiche and electronic depository materials and to copy microfiche, electronic and paper depository materials. The depository operation should be sufficiently equipped to ensure immediate access to depository holdings regardless of format.

A readily accessible personal computer and a Fax machine are recommended for use by the documents staff to ensure effective depository administration.

D. Signage

Signage and other physical facilities of the library cannot inhibit public access. Signage should be employed to facilitate access to depository materials. .

Chapter 7 Public Service

A. Access
B. Reference Service
C. Referrals
D. Public Awareness

A. Access

Free access as defined by GPO means that any member of the general public can physically handle and use a Government document at the library without impediments. Free access to the resources of the documents collection by the general public is a fundamental obligation that all Federal depository libraries share (except for the highest State Appellate Court libraries). Access policies, posting of signs, and public service hours for depository patrons must conform to this requirement. Depository libraries must ensure that any library-wide security or access policy does not hinder public access to depository materials.

Depository libraries shall post a sign or the depository emblem in a prominent location (preferably visible from the exterior of the library) indicating that the library is a Federal depository and that Government publications can be used by the general public at no charge.

Libraries that offer night and weekend service hours to their primary clientele must provide comparable service hours to depository patrons.

Publications loaned to other libraries or institutions on an extended loan basis (selective housing) must be made available for use by the general public within twenty-four hours of the initial request. Depositories are not required to serve patrons who do not have a depository- related need to be in the library.

The library director or the director's designee should ensure that all appropriate employees are aware of the free access requirements of Federal depository libraries. If there is any question that current access procedures at a depository could be seen as inhibiting free public access, the library should contact the Chief, Depository Services, U.S. G.P.O.

Every effort should be made to ensure that the depository collection is used, and that publications are not merely stored or placed in inaccessible locations. If documents circulate as do other materials in your library, so much the better. (Those libraries wishing to keep their depository collections intact may find it convenient to purchase extra copies of Government publications through the Government Printing Office's Sales Program for use in circulation.)

B. Reference Service

Depositories are located in libraries so that members of the general public will have access to reference tools, knowledgeable librarians and other library resources. A professional librarian should be available to handle depository reference requests.

Reference service offered to members of the general public using the depository will be comparable to the reference service given to the library's primary patrons. Competent ready reference service, indexes and other tools to locate Government information in the collection, need to be available to all depository patrons. Patrons will be able to locate specific documents in the depository by title and/or class number or other access point.

Depository staff must ensure access to depository materials regardless of format. A depository goal should be to offer patrons competent instruction in the major software features available for each selected electronic product.

The variety and growing number of these products might preclude a documents librarian from developing expertise in all of the available software features. At a minimum, staff should be able to locate and mount the product and its documentation on the proper workstation; and to exit from the product.

C. Referrals

The Federal Depository Library Program functions best as a system of cooperating libraries. As few depositories have comprehensive documents collections, depositories depend on other libraries within the Federal Depository Library Program to supply infrequently requested materials. Librarians should have some familiarity with the resources available in neighboring depositories and at the Regional Library.

D. Public Awareness

Public service begins with public awareness. Depository promotion needs to extend to all potential user groups. Depository outreach into the surrounding communities should be ongoing. Activities which increase the visibility of the depository and its resources, such as cataloging documents, are to be encouraged. Refer to the Federal Depository Library Manual for information on promotional activities.

Chapter 8 Cooperative Efforts

A. Program Administration
B. Regional/Selective Cooperation
C. Local Cooperation
D. Communications with GPO

A. Program Administration

In order to ensure the effective functioning of the Federal Depository Library Program, depository libraries are expected to cooperate with GPO, their Regional library and neighboring depositories. The documents librarian must have a thorough knowledge of the current Instructions to Depository Libraries. Depositories will return GPO issued surveys by the due date.

Title 44, United States Code, requires all depository libraries to report on their condition every two years. The Government Printing Office mails a Biennial Survey questionnaire to each depository and all depository libraries are required to answer the questionnaire fully, and to return their copy promptly to the Superintendent of Documents. Failure to complete and return the Biennial Survey can result in the loss of your library's depository status.

The Government Printing Office uses the information collected in the Biennial Survey to monitor the condition of the depository libraries and for other administrative purposes.

Title 44, United States Code, requires the Superintendent of Documents to make first-hand investigations of the conditions in depository libraries. The Superintendent of Documents' depository inspection program is designed to ensure that depository libraries fulfill their obligations under Title 44, United States Code, and under the regulations established in these Instructions to Depository Libraries. The first-hand investigation required by Title 44 is performed by library inspectors from the Library Programs Service, Depository Services Staff. The GPO library inspectors represent the Superintendent of Documents during their on-site inspection visits to the depository libraries.

Inspections are conducted by professional librarians. The inspection evaluation is based on the Instructions to Depository Libraries and the Guidelines for the Depository Library System, which are the accepted standards of practice identified by the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer.

Using the inspection report form, selective and regional depositories are rated in seven or eight categories respectively. Libraries failing three or more of these categories are placed on probationary status for not less than six months. At the end of this period they are reinspected. If the probationary library fails its second inspection, the Superintendent of Documents has the authority to rescind the library's depository status.

Approximately six weeks after the inspection visit, the library director, documents librarian and the regional librarian each receive a copy of the inspection report. Additional information on the inspection process can be found in the Federal Depository Library Manual.

B. Regional/Selective Cooperation

The effectiveness of the Federal Depository Library Program depends on close cooperation between selective Federal depositories and their Regional Federal Depository. Regional Federal depository libraries play a vital role in the Federal Depository Library System. The unique role of the Regional depository is detailed in the following chapter.

Selective depositories should follow the direction of their Regional librarian when discarding depository materials and when engaging in other cooperative depository projects. In order to reduce the burden on Regional depository operations, discards of depository materials should be done on a regular, preferably annual, basis.

C. Local Cooperation

The Federal Depository Library system functions best as a system of cooperating libraries. No single depository can meet all potential community needs. Frequent communication among neighboring depositories should be encouraged. Depository collection development, promotional activities and continuing education activities should be attempted in conjunction with neighboring depositories.

In order to foster accurate referrals and to balance collection development, documents librarians should have some knowledge of the resources of neighboring depositories. Neighboring depositories should also communicate on a regular basis. Interlibrary loan is to be facilitated between depositories. GPO encourages the development of State Plans, depository union lists and other cooperative projects.

D. Communications with GPO

When writing to the Superintendent of Documents and the Library Programs Service, always mention that you are a depository library, and include your assigned depository library number on all correspondence. Use the depository library number that appears on your item selection printout and in A Directory of U.S. Government Depository Libraries.

Your depository library number is comprised of four digits, sometimes followed by an assigned letter. If your library number includes an assigned letter, the letter must be used.

Depository librarians are encouraged to use GPO form 3794 "Depository Library Inquiry Form," for routine inquiries (see Exhibit J for sample). Using this form will significantly expedite GPO's response to your inquiry.

Inquiries resulting in corrections to SuDocs classification numbers, item numbers, etc., will be answered on correction shipping lists or in the Library Programs Service newsletter, Administrative Notes. Therefore, not all inquiry forms will be answered individually.

When completing the inquiry form:

1. List only one question per form. You may send more than one form in an envelope.

2. Include all requested information, especially the librarian's name and office telephone number.

3. Make sure that the address label at the bottom of the form is completed clearly and correctly.

4. Forward only the white and blue copies to GPO; the pink copy is for your files. GPO will return the white copy to you with a response, unless the response is made on a correction shipping list or in Administrative Notes.

5. Do not use the inquiry form to claim titles issued on Shipping Lists. Claim procedures are outlined in Chapter 3 of the Instructions. The box marked "claim inquiry" refers to any problem you may have with a claim previously sent to GPO, or to claim a direct mail publication.

6. The "publication inquiry" category refers to any miscellaneous question regarding a publication distributed by GPO.

Additional copies of the "Depository Library Inquiry Form" may be requested by writing to:

U.S. Government Printing Office
Library Programs Service (SLLA)
Washington, DC 20401

Chapter 9 Regional Services

A. Designation
B. Responsibilities
C. Discard Listing Process
D. Regional Administration
E. Regional Consultation

A. Designation

Libraries designated to be regional depositories must already be depositories, and signify their interest in being designated a regional. Designation as a regional depository requires prior approval by the library authority of the State or Commonwealth. A U.S. Senator or Resident Commissioner, in the case of a Commonwealth, must make the designation. No more than two regionals may be designated for each State or Commonwealth.

B. Responsibilities

In addition to fulfilling the requirements of selective depositories, regional depositories must receive and retain at least one copy of all Government publications made available under the Federal Depository Library Program either in printed or microform copy. Regionals may discard depository materials that have been authorized for regional discard by the Superintendent of Documents.

The principle responsibility of a regional depository library is to ensure the comprehensiveness and integrity of the State's or region's depository resources. This is accomplished in two ways: first, purposeful collection development on the part of the regional, aimed at developing a comprehensive Government documents collection under the control of the regional library; second, supervising the discard listing process in the State or relevant region to ensure that documents of use are retained or offered to other selective.

Within the region they serve, designated regional depositories must provide interlibrary loan and reference service to both depository and nondepository libraries. Regional libraries should be equipped with a fiche to fiche duplicator.

C. Discard Listing Process

Title 44, United States Code, Section 1912, authorizes regional depositories to permit selective depository libraries for which they have responsibility to dispose of Government publications which have been retained for at least five years. Discarding is a privilege granted by the regional and not a right of the selective. The regional library may refuse to grant permission for disposal of any publication that it feels should be kept by one of its depositories for a longer period of time.

Upon request for permission to dispose of publications, the regional library should ask the selective depository to prepare a list of the publications, showing the current item number, series title, Superintendent of Documents classification number, extent of the holdings to be disposed of, and any other relevant information needed by the Regional Librarian.

The regional library should issue detailed written instructions to its selectives on the discard procedures they are to follow. The regional library should issue these special instructions with the concurrence of the Superintendent of Documents.

The instructions should deal only with procedures deemed necessary for the efficient operation of depositories within their jurisdiction, to enable the libraries to better serve the needs of the community. Ideally, such instructions are part of a State Plan and have been negotiated between the regional library and the selective libraries.

The regional librarian will check the disposal lists for any publications which may be missing from the regional documents collection. The regional should ensure that at least one copy of all Government publications made available through the Federal Depository Library Program, in paper, microfiche, or electronic format, (except those authorized to be discarded by the Superintendent of Documents) is retained by a depository within the State or region.

In reviewing the discard lists, the regional librarian should keep in mind that the intent of the law is not just that the regional itself should have a comprehensive collection, but that discarding does not significantly erode the effectiveness of the State's Federal depository library resources. It is acceptable for a regional to refuse a selective's discard request if it is felt that the publications offered for discard should be available in that part of the State, or that the State as a whole should have more than one (regional) copy of that particular publication, or for any other justifiable reason.

Selective depository libraries must be instructed that disposition of unwanted Government documents should be made in the following prescribed manner. Publications should first be offered to other depository libraries in the State or States served by the regional, then to a nondepository library or educational institution in the area which would be able to make them available to the public.

Failing to find such a recipient after following this prescribed procedure and after making a reasonable effort, documents may be disposed of in any appropriate manner. However, if such disposition takes the form of a sale, either as second-hand books or waste paper, the proceeds, along with a letter of explanation, should be sent to the Superintendent of Documents, since all depository publications remain the property of the United States Government.

In order to avoid any future misunderstandings or problems between the selective and the regional, regionals should retain the selective's discard lists for three years after the discards have been made.

Regional depositories also have the authority to instruct selective depository libraries regarding the disposition of publications in the event that a library relinquishes its depository privilege. This disposition should be made as noted above, although depository libraries may be permitted to keep some publications when the depository status is terminated.

D. Regional Administration

Regional libraries are urged to maintain a file folder for each of the selective depositories they serve. These file folders should house the Regional's copies of their selective libraries' inspection reports, selective housing agreements, correspondence, discard lists, and other relevant information.

Regional depository libraries have no jurisdiction over depository libraries in the various agencies of the Federal Government. Depository libraries within Federal Government agencies are designated by a special provision of Title 44, United States Code, and are responsible only to the Superintendent of Documents and their parent agency. As the Federal Depository Library Program functions best as a system of cooperating libraries, the Regional library is encouraged to invite representatives from Federal agency library depositories to participate in local depository- related meetings.

Regionals as well as selectives have the right to selectively house depository materials at locations other than the designated library. Refer to part H of Chapter 2 of these Instructions for information concerning selective housing.

E. Regional Consultation

The role of consultant is a basic part of a regional library's responsibilities. Regional librarians are fully involved in the designation and termination processes. Before a library formally applies for status as a depository, the librarian applying for status is urged by the Government Printing Office to contact and consult with the regional librarian. The regional depository is responsible for giving new depositories any necessary information regarding interlibrary loan, reference and other services which the regional can provide.

Regional libraries need the cooperation and support of the selective in order to effectively and efficiently fulfill their mission as regional Federal depositories. Regional libraries should take a leadership role in organizing documents-related workshops and meetings.

The continuing education of all documents librarians in the State or region is in the best self interest of the regional library. The regional librarian should make periodic visits to the depository libraries in the State or relevant region to observe their depository operations and assess the needs of the selective which they serve.

Regional librarians should also take an active part in the inspection process. The presence of the regional librarian benefits the entire inspection process. At a minimum, they should contact the libraries before and after an inspection to offer assistance. Regional librarians should make every effort to accompany the GPO library inspectors on their visits. Regional librarians also benefit from this unique opportunity to observe the entire depository operation in their area.

Chapter 10 Common Questions Answered

1. Collection Development
2. Bibliographic Control
3. Maintenance
4. Staffing
5. Physical facilities
6. Public service
7. Public service
8. Cooperative Efforts
9. Regional Services

1. Collection Development

I'm a documents coordinator at a selective depository. Can my library select only a small numbers of items, using the depository program like a free book program, so we can acquire those few expensive sets like the CFR and the US Code for free?

GPO: No. The 150-year-old Depository system is established to serve the general public, as well as a library's primary clientele, with a suitable number of government publications, based on the library's size and type.

A too low selection rate, which amounts to using the depository as a free book program, defeats that goal and does not fully exploit a library's depository status.

If a free book program for a few key items is a library's depository collection policy, the library should withdraw from the voluntary Federal Depository Library Program and simply purchase the needed key items from the GPO sales program, which is established for that purpose.

2. Bibliographic Control

Why do I have to fully record and date/depository mark all formats of all depository materials? My library is short staffed and such processing is a waste of valuable staff time.

GPO: GPO requires a full record of all formats of depository materials because such record keeping is good library practice and is what is afforded a library's general collection materials.

Most importantly, fully recording depository materials provides GPO with an inventory of the U.S. government property, which the depository materials always remain.

Uniquely marking all formats of all depository materials identifies these materials as U.S. Government property.

The date mark on all formats of all material establishes a date from which the material may, 5 years later, be weeded by selective depository libraries according to the procedures set down in the Instructions.

3. Maintenance

Why can't I simply dispose of depository materials after my library has no more use for them? Weeding list preparation is too time consuming for my limited staff. Do I have to list even small ephemeral publications? I don't think the Regional or other libraries need my discards.

GPO: The weeding process is established to help the Regional library build a comprehensive retrospective collection for the state. It also allows other libraries to take needed materials from weeding lists after the Regional makes its selections.

All 5-year-old materials, regardless of quantity, size, or perceived value, must be listed with the Regional library. The only exceptions are Federal libraries that weed through the Library of Congress, highest appellate court libraries of each State, which have no strict weeding regulations, and superseded materials, which are governed by the retention instructions of the Superseded List, and do not require listing with the Regional library.

4. Staffing

What is an appropriate staffing level for a depository operation?

GPO: Staffing needs vary depending on library type. As a minimum, the library needs a documents coordinator, ideally a documents librarian, with central authority to speak for depository operations. A minimum standard for processing work is 1 hour a week for every 1 percent of item number selections.

5. Physical facilities

Physically disabled people have never used this library. Why do we have to go to all the trouble and expense of making our library accessible to this group?

GPO: Depositories that are inaccessible to the physically disabled are not freely accessible to the general public. You might not have physically disabled patrons because they have been frustrated in previous attempts to gain access.

6. Public service

My library is not a public library. A public library depository is nearby. They are better organized to serve the general public. Can't we restrict access to our depository collections to only our students, who pay a high tuition? At the least, can't we allow public access to depository collections only for certain restricted hours? We would also like to bar high school students by applying an age restriction.

GPO: GPO requires free access to depository collections to all, without exception. The depository library program is a voluntary program, and free access is the cornerstone of the program. A depository should drop out of the program (if GPO does not remove it first) if it cannot comply with this basic requirement.

7. Public service

My law school library will provide free access to depository collections, but we want to keep undergraduates out of our library, so we post a sign that says "Library Use For Law School Students Only". We have the depository decal displayed, and if someone asks to use depository materials, we will provide access. Is this acceptable?

GPO: No. Signs or policies, even if ignored, can have a "chilling effect" that would discourage depository use. Such signs must be removed, or modified to include wording to the effect that the use of Federal depository publications is open to all.

8. Cooperative Efforts

We would like to house some depository materials at another library. Is that acceptable?

GPO: Yes, in fact it is encouraged. This concept, called "selective housing", is an excellent technique to expand depository materials into the community. The housing site library must comply with all depository requirements, including free access to the general public. A Memorandum of Agreement needs to be established between the depository and housing site library (see Federal Depository Library Manual).

9. Regional Services

Our Regional library is very exacting when it comes to discard list preparation. The regional wants the lists formatted in a certain way or they will not process them.

GPO: It is important to cooperate with the Regional library. Regionals have the right, and in fact the obligation, to establish guidelines for creating and submitting discard lists. These guidelines make the discard process much more efficient for everyone.


A. Depository Shipping List - Paper

B. Depository Shipping List - Microfiche

C. Depository Shipping List - Electronic

D. Depository Shipping List - Separates

E. Depository Shipping List - Corrections

F. Depository Shipping List - Surveys

G. OCR Scannable Form - Surveys

H. New Item Cards - Surveys

I. Amendment of Selections Form

J. Depository Library Inquiry Form


Access . . . . . . . . . . . . .iv, 1, 3, 7, 15, 18, 23-26, 36-38
Acid-free containers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15, 19
Additions (Item numbers) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5-6
Administrative Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, 6, 29
Amendment of Selections Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5, 48
Annual selection update  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5-6, 12
Arrangement of publications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9, 12, 20
Basic collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Bibliographic control. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9, 35
Biennial survey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Cataloging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9, 26
Charts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Circulation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Claims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12-15
Classification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-12, 29, 32
Collection development . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-7, 28, 31, 35
Communications with GPO. . . . . . .2, 4-7, 11-14, 25, 27, 28, 32
Compact disk maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Complete shipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10, 11
Computer printout. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Cooperation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27-29, 33
Cooperative publications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Core collections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Correction shipping lists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10, 11, 29
Defective copy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Defense Mapping Agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11, 14, 19
Deletions (Item numbers) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, 6
Depository Library Inquiry Form. . . . . . 11, 13, 14, 28, 29, 49
Depository termination procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Designation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1, 2, 31, 33
Direct mail. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11, 12, 14, 29
Discards . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6, 12-14, 16-18, 20, 31-33, 38
Duplicates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14, 16, 18
Electronic publications. . . . 10, 14, 17, 18, 20, 24, 26, 32, 42
Electronic shipping lists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18, 20, 24
Exchange and Gift Division . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17, 18
Fax. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14, 24
Federal Depository Library Manual. . .4, 7, 11-14, 20, 26, 28, 38
Federal Depository Library Programiv, 1-4, 6, 7, 10, 15-17,
                                                 26-28, 31-33, 35
Federal depository status. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1, 2
Five-year retention. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6, 9, 17, 18, 31
Floppy disk maintenance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Free public access . . . . . . . . . . . .iv, 1, 3, 7, 23, 25, 37
Free use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv
Government property. . . . . . . . . .2, 7, 9, 15, 16, 18, 32, 35
GPO Classification Manual. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
GPO form 3495, Amendment of Selections . . . . . . . . . . .5, 48
GPO form 3794, Depository Library Inquiry Form11, 13, 14, 28, 29,
Guidelines for the Depository Library System . . . . . . . .3, 27
Housing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6, 7, 19-20, 23
Human resources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21, 36
Index map. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Inspection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27, 28, 33
Insuring depository collections. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15-16
Item number deletion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, 6
Item number selection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-6, 47
Local cooperation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27, 28
Maintenance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv, 15, 16, 20, 36
Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9, 11, 14, 18, 19, 20
Marking depository materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9, 35
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). . . . . . . . . . . .7, 19, 21, 38
Microfiche . . . . . . . . . . . . 10, 14, 15, 17, 19, 24, 32, 41
Natural disaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Needs and Offers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16, 18
New series notification. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, 6
OCLC subfields 086 & z . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Over-sized publications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Paper clips on microfiche. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Partial shipments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10, 11
Physical access. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23, 26
Physical facilities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23, 24, 36
Physically disabled patrons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23, 36
Posters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Pre-packaged publications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Preprints. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16, 18
Probationary status. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6, 9-14, 19-21, 35, 36
Public awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Public Printer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Public service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3, 4, 21, 25-26, 37
Publication inquiry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Raincheck  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Reference service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25, 26, 31
Referrals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25, 26, 28
Regional services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31-33, 38
Regional shipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10, 11
Reprints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16, 18
Responsible officials. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Retention, 5-year. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6, 9, 17, 18, 31
Retroactive distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Rubber bands on microfiche . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15, 19
Secondary copies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16-18
Selection (Item numbers) . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-6, 10, 12, 35
Selective housing. . . . . . . . . . . . 6, 7, 19, 21, 25, 33, 38
Separates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11-13, 43
Service to general public. . . . . . . . . . .3, 4, 21, 25-26, 37
Service to primary patrons . . . . . . . . . .1, 3, 21, 25-26, 35
Shipping list. . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, 6, 10-13, 19, 29, 40-45
Shrink wrap. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Signage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24, 37
Special offers (selections). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Staffing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21, 25, 26, 36
State plans. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Substitution of depository materials . . . . . . . . . . . .18-19
Superintendent of Documents. . . . . .2, 10, 13, 16, 27-28, 31-33
Superintendent of Documents classification . . . .4, 9-12, 29, 32
Superseded publications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15, 17, 18, 36
Survey shipping list . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Title 44, United States Code . . . . . . . .iv, 2, 18, 27, 31, 33
Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21, 26
U.S. Geological Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11, 14, 19
United States Book Exchange. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16