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ARL Statement on Digital FDLP Task Force Draft Report

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) welcomes the draft report of the US Government Publishing Office (GPO) Task Force on a Digital Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). We look forward to timely adoption of the final report’s recommendations.

ARL members believe this report is in line with the work libraries have led to transform their collections, resources, and services in the digital age.  As this work continues, we encourage GPO to help the public recognize that government information, data, and publications are all public goods, and that activities to make these resources available at no charge to those who seek government information are powered by people. This means that the GPO should prioritize the provision of continued training for government information librarians as well as interested members of the public, the leveraging of specialized knowledge and skills of government information librarians, and the provision of such services as support for metadata creation and maintenance and marketing.

ARL recommends that the final report emphasize the significant need for new models for an all-digital FDLP and emphasize the opportunity to leverage existing library networks that have government information programs in order to sustain permanent no-fee digital access to US government information.

ARL’s Advocacy and Public Policy Committee is heartened to see that the report recommends opportunities for collaboration among GPO, federal agencies, and libraries to address broadband access and the digital divide, and access for people with disabilities.

ARL thanks the following task force members who are associated with ARL member libraries for their leadership and participation on the task force:

  • Jim Gillispie, Social Science Librarian for Public Health, Economics, and Government Information, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Valerie Glenn, Head, Map and Government Information Library, and Federal Regional Depository Librarian, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
  • Shari Laster, Head, Open Stacks, Hayden Library, Tempe Campus, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • Amy Laub-Carroll, Federal Regional Depository Librarian, William T. Young Library, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
  • Adriene Lim, Dean of Libraries, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
  • Judy Russell, Dean of Libraries, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (Representing ARL)
  • Laura Sare, Government Information and Data Librarian, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
  • Gwen Sinclair, Head of Government Documents & Maps, Hamilton Library, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Will Stringfellow, Federal Depository Coordinator (Depository Library Council Chair), Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries (Central Library), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of research libraries in Canada and the US whose vision is to create a trusted, equitable, and inclusive research and learning ecosystem and prepare library leaders to advance this work in strategic partnership with member libraries and other organizations worldwide. ARL’s mission is to empower and advocate for research libraries and archives to shape, influence, and implement institutional, national, and international policy. ARL develops the next generation of leaders and enables strategic cooperation among partner institutions to benefit scholarship and society. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.

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