April 20, 2018

ACRL Adds Its Voice to Debate With GPO Over Federal Depository Library Program

The president of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) sent a letter on November 2 to Public Printer William Boarman and Superintendent of Documents Mary Alice Baish to express concern about recent decisions by the Government Printing Office (GPO) that have rejected new multi-state partnerships within the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).

Joyce L. Ogburn,  president of ACRL and the dean of the J. Willard Marriott Library and university librarian, University of Utah, wrote:

ACRL believes that the future of libraries will be based in innovative uses of technology and intensive collaboration across geographic boundaries. The multi-state models for managing federal documents that libraries have developed address the pressing issues of the economic climate, the imperative for wider collaboration, and the improvement of access to these critical resources. We view these as necessary and viable partnerships that will sustain library collections and services and will create enduring programs of access and preservation.

On the ACRL website, Ogburn added that “I appreciate how this issue stirs passions. I also know that we are all invested in finding a viable future for the depository program and for its relationship to academic libraries across the country.”

As LJ has reported, the issues revolve around two plans that the GPO has expressed reservations about: (1) a proposed multi-state arrangement that would have allowed the University of Minnesota libraries (UMN) to act as the regional federal depository library for the 43 selective depository libraries in Michigan, and (2) a proposal spearheaded by the 38 members of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) that would reshape the FDLP program across 10 states in that region.

(ASERL also wrote to GPO on October 21 to address some of the agency’s concerns and to ask for a meeting with Baish.)

Ogburn wrote in her letter:

… ACRL is convinced that the quality of services associated with collaborative efforts will be stronger than stand alone efforts. ACRL urges the GPO to work closely and openly with depository libraries to explore and establish new models.

The roster of library organization that have now expressed concerns about  GPO’s recent decisions include, in addition to ACRL and ASERL, the Association of Research Librariesthirty-one of the 47 regional coordinators at regional depository libraries around the country, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), and the Great Western Library Alliance.

Michael Kelley About Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley (mkelley@mediasourceinc.com) is the former Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal.



  1. Time for Marc to move on and post on McCain’s call to “seal the border” with NatGuard troops. Let’s bash the crazies who have some power and a national platform that’s not imaginary.