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An ALA Washington Office Press Release is extremely disturbing, if correct:
ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
Volume 14, Number 6
January 27, 2005
In This Issue: Call for Oversight on GPO Initiatives
We are writing to ask you to contact your Members of Congress to tell them about GPO's proposed plan that would eliminate almost all print distribution to depository libraries beginning October 1, 2005. Urge them to support a call for an oversight hearing on the impact of the
Government Printing Office's (GPO) proposed initiatives and changes to the Federal Depository Library Program and the impact on the public's
permanent access to authentic government information.
Use our Legislative Action Center http://capwiz.com/ala/home/> to send a letter, or use the toll-free free number to call members of Congress: 1-800-839-5276.
We also urge you to send copies of your letters to Public Printer Bruce James (firstname.lastname@example.org / fax: 202-512-1347) and to Superintendent of Documents Judith C. Russell (email@example.com / fax: 202-512-1432).
We will send out a separate ALAWON Alert on the GPO budget issue when their budget request is officially submitted.
The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP)was established by Congress more than 150 years ago as a geographically dispersed system to provide no-fee public access to government information and has proven to be a very successful partnership among Congress, federal agencies, the courts, the Government Printing Office (GPO), depository libraries, and the American public in ensuring the public's right to know.
At ALA's Midwinter Meeting in Boston, GPO informed the library community that their FY 2006 Salaries and Expenses (S&E) appropriations request for the FDLP will be for level funding (at the 2005 level), plus cost of living increases. One result of this request will be drastic changes in the distribution of print materials to our Nation's federal depository libraries. These proposed changes would take effect October 1, 2005.
Among the changes, the key is that GPO would produce and distribute in print only the 50 titles listed on the "Essential Titles for Public Use in Paper Format." The Essential Titles List
http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fdlp/pubs/estitles.html", last revised in 2000, does not include important materials including maps, geological information, administrative decisions and other congressional
and legal materials, as well as Senate and House reports, documents, and hearings that inform the citizenry of the workings of Congress. All other agency information will be disseminated only in electronic format to depository libraries - whether they are equipped to handle this format adequately and whether or not this is the most usable format for their publics. This decision, if allowed to go forward, will have a profound negative impact on access to authenticated government information in formats most usable to the American public.
Second, to supplement the "Essential Titles" publications, GPO will initiate a Print on Demand (POD) Allowance Program of $500 for selective
depository libraries and $1500 for the 53 regional depository libraries for purchase of other titles. GPO is, in effect, asking Congress to support and depository libraries to accept a new fee-based Print on Demand Program that has not yet been established or tested.
GPO admits that POD technology is not archival and that the materials depository libraries purchase through this new service will have a shelf life of only 20 to 30 years. The implications for permanent public access to such material have also not been fully explored.
Further, this change will put unfunded burdens on depository libraries to cover administrative costs associated with this new program and purchase print titles, formerly distributed through the FDLP at no cost, when print is the appropriate and needed format for their user
These plans will have a tremendous impact on the FDLP and on the public's ability to access and use government information. It is,
therefore, essential that GPO's authorizing committee conduct open public hearings on the impact of GPO's new initiatives and changes to
the Federal Depository Library Program.
Contact your Members of Congress and urge them to support a call for an oversight hearing on the impact of the Government Printing Office's (GPO) proposed initiatives and changes to the Federal Depository Library Program and the impact on the public's access to government information.
Make sure they understand the unique value of a depository library and its collections. Tell them about how these changes will impact your
ability to access government information, and be sure to include examples of publications that you need in print and why print is the appropriate format.
The members of the Joint Committee on Printing have not yet been named. We will let you know, via the Legislative Action Center when those names are available. The members of JCP should be contacted as soon as possible to urge them to
call for an oversight hearing on the impact of the Government Printing Office's (GPO) proposed initiatives and changes to the Federal Depository Library Program and the impact on the public's access to government information.
We will send out a separate ALAWON Alert on the GPO budget issue when their budget is officially submitted.
Remember: You Can Call Any MEMBER OF CONGRESS Toll-Free: 1-800-839-5276
ALAWON (ISSN 1069-7799) is a free, irregular publication of the American Library Association Washington Office. All materials subject to
copyright by the American Library Association may be reprinted or redistributed for noncommercial purposes with appropriate credits.
To subscribe to ALAWON, send the message: subscribe ala-wo [your_firstname] [your_lastname] to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.ala.org/washoff/alawon. To unsubscribe to ALAWON, send the message: unsubscribe ala-wo to email@example.com. ALAWON archives at http://www.ala.org/washoff/alawon.
ALA Washington Office, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 403, Washington, D.C. 20004-1701; phone: 202.628.8410 or 800.941.8478
toll-free; fax: 202.628.8419; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site:
http://www.ala.org/washoff. Executive Director: Emily Sheketoff.
Office of Government Relations: Lynne Bradley, Director; Carol Ashworth, Don Essex, Joshua Farrelman, Erin Haggerty, Patrice McDermott and Miriam Nisbet. Office for Information Technology Policy: Rick Weingarten,
Director; Carrie Lowe, Kathy Mitchell, Carrie Russell. ALAWON Editor: