Influencing the Future: FDLP State Forecasts and Action Plans

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has undertaken a research initiative to work collaboratively with the Federal depository library community to comprehensively document the changing needs of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the needs of each type of library within it. As part of this initiative, draft templates were created for two research tools: a FDLP State Forecast and a State Focused Action Plan. The use of these tools is designed to bridge gaps in our data and to provide a comprehensive picture of the issues within the FDLP community. GPO proposed these research tools to FDLP community members attending the 2011 Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library Conference (Meeting and Conference), on Thursday October 20, 2011, as part of an open-ended discussion that began this collaborative process. GPO staff members are currently refining the research tools in response to community feedback.

The first tool, the FDLP State Forecast, will be used to cumulatively represent the conditions of all types of FDLP libraries in a state and identify issues that libraries are facing now and anticipate facing in the future. It is designed to gather information concerning FDLP libraries’ economic and demographic outlooks as well as information about technology use and trends, library arrangements, and more. The forecast should reflect on changes experienced by FDLP libraries in your state in the last five years.

The second tool, the State Focused Action Plan, builds on the information identified in a State’s Forecast or a depository region’s State Forecasts and is comprised of initiatives and activities. The initiatives should represent goals for all types of depository libraries in a state or depository region. The activities are actions that will be taken to achieve the stated initiatives. The timeframe for implementation of the activities should be the next one to five years.

The quantitative and qualitative data derived from FDLP member libraries through these research tools will be analyzed and used to inform the creation of a proposed National Plan for the Future of the FDLP. GPO is seeking to document the issues FDLP libraries are experiencing, to share them with the community, and to determine the most pressing issues that need to be addressed as we work together to create a plan for the future of the FDLP.

Share Quotes.This collaborative process is ongoing. GPO has opened two forums to continue community discussion of the ideas and materials presented during the Meeting & Conference Thursday session. Links to the transcript of this session along with handouts and other related materials are currently available on the FDLP Desktop. Community members are asked to share their thoughts on the research tools and to participate in a discussion of the ideas presented in the draft discussion document, Federal Depository Library Program Strategic Plan, 2009-2014.

Recently, GPO staff members have spoken about the research initiative with attendees of the Kansas and Ohio GODORT meetings. More outreach efforts are planned and community input is helping to further refine the research tools and shape future collaborative efforts. A FDLP Forecast questionnaire and a State Focused Action Plan template are being finalized.

Release of the forecast questionnaire and action plan template is anticipated in December 2011/January 2012. Libraries are asked to complete the questionnaire and plan and submit them to GPO by June 30, 2012. Earlier submissions are encouraged as this will allow faster data analysis. GPO values community input, and we encourage all FDLP members to participate and assist us in creating a comprehensive knowledge base that documents the current status and anticipated future issues of FDLP libraries in each state.