Visibility of the Depository Library and Collection


Your library can increase public awareness of your depository status and participation in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) by increasing the visibility of FDLP resources. This can be done by prominently displaying the FDLP library decal or by using other GPO-provided resources to help promote your depository collection and services. This information can be posted on library web pages, provided at reference desks or circulated through other venues that are used to promote library services and activities.

Public service begins with public awareness. In order to benefit from the resources of Federal depository libraries, the public and researchers must be aware that these valuable information resources exist and where they can receive assistance in using U.S. Government information. Examples of some activities that raise visibility include:

  • Clear identification of the library as a Federal depository library (both in the library and online)
  • Cataloging of U.S. Government resources that are in your library’s catalog
  • Prominent placement of tangible collections and public service points within the library building
  • Training of public services personnel to identify and locate depository resources in the library and online
  • Information sharing with nearby depository and non-depository libraries
  • Ongoing promotional activities to all user groups

By engaging in these activities and others like them, you can help ensure your library meets the Federal Government information needs of your community.

Identifying the Library as a Federal Depository Library

2017 fdlp decalPlacing the FDLP decal on or near public entrances into the library prominently and visually identifies your institution as a Federal depository library. Your library should also place the emblem on or near the public entrances of any selective housing sites.

On your library’s website, you must have one or more of the following features:

  1. An FDLP graphic or digital images on one or more library web pages
  2. Statutory language (in use on the FDLP decal)
  3. Language that identifies the library as a public access point for Federal depository library material

The above information is best placed in a prominent location such as on a homepage. Other appropriate locations include a Government information web page or an “about” page.

FDLP graphics can be downloaded from the FDLP Digital Marketing Toolkit. You can also order, for free, FDLP decals and other promotional materials.

Cataloging and Bibliographic Control

If your library's depository resources are difficult to find, free, public access is negatively impacted. Your library staff should work to make patrons aware of your library's depository collections in all formats.

Cataloging depository resources enhances access and visibility. Cataloging of all tangible depository receipts is required as of January 2012. For more information see the Bibliographic Control guidance article.

If your library has uncataloged publications and the shelflist is in a staff space, you should either move the shelflist to a public area or share information about these holdings and how to access them with potential depository users. Describing all depository collections and how patrons may access each format within the collections on the library’s web pages, in subject guides, and in other literature would serve this purpose. Otherwise, your potential users are unlikely to discover and use depository publications.

While cataloging online resources is not required, libraries should consider other options for providing access to online Government information resources. You may consider creating guides or providing access to Federal agency web pages that help patrons identify and make sense of the resources. For more information see the All or Mostly Online Federal Depository Libraries guidance article.

Reference Assistance

Patrons should be able to locate where they can receive assistance with the identification of depository resources and guidance on their use.

Public services library staff should be knowledgeable of Federal depository library resources and be capable of performing basic reference, and publication retrieval for Federal resources in all formats. Patrons may be referred to U.S. Government information specialists for advanced reference assistance as necessary. At a minimum, public services personnel should provide research assistance in the practical use of the collection within your library.

Primary and non-primary users should receive the same or comparable reference services. For questions about implementation of reference services for non-primary patrons contact the Office of Outreach and Support.

Promotion of the Depository Collection and Services

Depository promotion should extend to all potential user groups, and depository outreach to the surrounding communities should be ongoing.

GPO offers a variety of promotional and educational resources to help depository libraries increase awareness of their library, the FDLP, and U.S. Government information.

Read a list of tips and strategies to help you increase awareness of your depository, both in the library and online.

Download digital images for use on your library websites, on display monitors, and in your printed handouts. Access audio Public Service Announcements.

FDLP tangible promotional brochures and materials are available, at no cost, exclusively to Federal depository libraries.

Anniversaries are the perfect time to highlight your library's depository collection, services, and resources. Read a list of tips for celebrating.

The FDLP Academy offers a variety of educational webinars and webcasts on U.S. Government information resources from GPO staff, staff at other Federal agencies, and members of the FDLP community. Pointing patrons to these resources is a great way to create awareness of FDLP resources.

  • Promoting your Library via GPO’s Social Media Channels

GPO wants to help your library promote your services, events, and resources. Share your news and photos with us, and whenever possible, we will post the information to GPO’s social media channels. Contact us using the askGPO service. In the “Ask a Question” tab, choose “Federal Depository Libraries” as your category and “Marketing Strategies/Radio Spots” as your subcategory. Your library could be featured on the following GPO social media sites: