California State Library's role as Regional Depository

Within the structure of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), Regional U.S. depositories have special functions defined by U.S. Code Title 44, Chapter 19, Section 1912.  Regional depositories select and permanently retain every tangible publication distributed through the FDLP, except for certain superseded titles.  Consequently, Regional depositories serve as the U.S. document collection of last resort within their states, providing interlibrary loan and interlibrary reference for U.S. Government information to all libraries within their states, whether or not those libraries are FDLP depositories.  They also coordinate and support Selective depository activities throughout the region, helping to ensure that all residents of their regions have equal access to official U.S. government information.

Every state is entitled to have up to two Regional depositories, but California has always had only one.  The California State Library (CSL) has had the honor of serving as California’s only Regional depository ever since the Regional/Selective structure was established in 1962.  With more Selective depositories than any other state—and boasting almost twice the national ratio of public library depositories to other depository types—California is well-positioned to take a leadership role in decisions being made by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) on how Web-disseminated government information will be discovered, captured, described, authenticated, and preserved in all documentary versions.  The CSL and many other California depositories have provided valuable input on GPO’s proposals to ensure permanent public access to Web-published U.S. government information.

The CSL also consults with California’s ninety selective depositories through targeted onsite visits, attendance at depository meetings across the state, through telephone and e-mail contacts, and by hosting periodic training sessions for new depository librarians.  We take our role of consultation very seriously, since maintaining a strong network of depository libraries throughout the state is vital to the ability of California residents to obtain timely and accurate information from their government.

In fact, it is the power of networking that is one of the primary advantages of being an FDLP depository.  The depository system leverages the subject expertise of depository librarians across the nation and makes each depository more powerful than it would be by itself.  Even though, increasingly, Federal Government information is available to any citizen and to any library (whether depository or not) via the Web, depository librarians have access to specialized training opportunities and can draw upon the collective wisdom of their colleagues through the FDLP network.  This specialized knowledge and networking enables official depositories to find information that might not easily be found by untrained users.  As the depository model changes from a collection-focused enterprise to a service-focused one, the State Library will continue to encourage California’s depository librarians to take advantage of networking and training opportunities.

The CSL encourages all libraries and library users in the state to take advantage of the CSL’s rich U.S. document collection and its reference services.  While we may sometimes refer residents outside the Sacramento area to their local depositories, we gladly answer inquiries from any resident and any library in the state.  Just contact the Government Publications Section or send an e-mail: cslgps@library.ca.gov or telephone: (916) 654-0069, Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM.  Depository library operational questions should be directed to the FDLP Regional librarian, David Cismowski, via e-mail at dcismowski@library.ca.gov or by telephone at (916) 651-6814.

 

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