GPO to discontinue nearly all print distro by Oct 2005

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

ACTION:

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 (bjames@gpo.gov / fax: 202-512-1347) and to Superintendent of Documents Judith C. Russell (jrussell@gpo.gov / fax: 202-512-1432).

We will send out a separate ALAWON Alert on the GPO budget issue when their budget request is officially submitted.

BACKGROUND:

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
communities.

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.

TALKING POINTS:

  • FDLP is a partnership with Congress that works for their constituents
  • 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.
  • Not all libraries and all users can utilize digital-only
  • Government information must be disseminated in a usable format that meets the diverse needs of the American public, and print may be the
    most appropriate format to serve congressional constituents. The goal of the FDLP is to provide government information to the American people in
    a convenient and usable format. The rapid move to an almost all-electronic depository library program fails to meet the needs of many congressional constituents who are economically or technologically disadvantaged and others who cannot make use of necessary technological
    infrastructure to access electronic government information
  • "Essential Titles" are not sufficiently inclusive
  • * The Superintendent of Documents recently informed the library community that GPO's FY 2006 Salaries and Expenses (S&E) appropriations request for the FDLP will include funding to cover little more than the cost of production and distribution of the 50 titles on the Essential
    Titles for Public Use in Paper Format
    .
  • The Essential Titles list has not been revised since 2000 and does not include important materials including maps, geological information,
    administrative decisions and other legal materials, Senate and House reports, documents, and hearings that inform the citizenry of the workings of Congress.
  • The technology and GPO are not ready for digital-only access
  • Research and information technology standards and best practices have not yet been developed to the point of ensuring authenticity and preservation of electronic information products, and GPO has not yet established a reliable system ensuring delivery, authenticity, permanent
    public access, and preservation of electronic information products they disseminate and make available online; and Print-on-Demand allowances will not meet needs of the public.
  • GPO plans to initiate a Print on Demand (POD) Allowance Program of $500 for selective depository libraries and $1500 for 53 regional
    depository libraries for titles that are not on the Essential Titles List. This POD allowance fails to provide sufficient funds to purchase
    print titles previously distributed at no cost to participating libraries and would add significant additional administrative and operating costs to depository libraries.

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.

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Remember: You Can Call Any MEMBER OF CONGRESS Toll-Free: 1-800-839-5276
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ALA Washington Office, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 403, Washington, D.C. 20004-1701; phone: 202.628.8410 or 800.941.8478
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