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Libraries Welcome House Administration Committee Approval of FDLP Modernization Act

UNC Hub @ Davis Library
image courtesy of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries

National library associations praised the Committee on House Administration’s approval of the FDLP Modernization Act (H.R. 5305) today. The bipartisan bill would update and strengthen the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) to ensure that members of the public have effective and long-term access to government information.

Leaders of the American Library Association, American Association of Law Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, and Chief Officers of State Library Agencies praised the legislation, saying:

Through their decades-long collaboration with the FDLP, libraries help the public find, use, and understand government information. The FDLP Modernization Act will bolster that critical partnership and secure the public’s right to know.
         —Jim Neal, president of the American Library Association

True to its name, the FDLP Modernization Act will bring the FDLP into the digital era by shedding outdated requirements and ensuring libraries work closely with the US Government Publishing Office (GPO) to meet their needs and the needs of the public. The bill will enable libraries and the GPO to provide comprehensive, timely, and equitable access to trustworthy government information.
         —Greg Lambert, president of the American Association of Law Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries applauds the introduction of the FDLP Modernization Act and looks forward to swift passage by the US House of Representatives. Through the FDLP, libraries work to ensure no-fee, public access to information produced by our government. Such access spurs innovation, advances research and education, and supports open and transparent government.
         —Mary Ann Mavrinac, president of the Association of Research Libraries

This legislation addresses many State Library Agency interests. H.R. 5305 expands the definition of government information to include digital and other specialized information formats and requires GPO to collect and preserve these forms of information. It also provides free access to this information and requires GPO and the depository libraries to develop safeguards for the privacy of individuals accessing government information, very good provisions for the public at large.
         —Sandra Treadway, president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies

The FDLP Modernization Act is sponsored by House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper (R-MS), Ranking Member Bob Brady (D-PA), and committee members Rodney Davis (R-IL), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Mark Walker (R-NC), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Adrian Smith (R-NE). The legislation follows a series of hearings held by the committee in 2017 at which librarians testified about their experiences with the FDLP.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the ALA is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. Visit ala.org.

About the American Association of Law Libraries

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is the only national association dedicated to the legal information profession and its professionals. Founded in 1906 on the belief that people—lawyers, judges, students, and the public—need timely access to relevant legal information to make sound legal arguments and wise legal decisions, its nearly 4,500 members are problem solvers of the highest order. AALL fosters the profession by offering its members knowledge, leadership, and community that make the whole legal system stronger. Visit aallnet.org.

About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. Visit arl.org.

About the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies

The Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) is an independent organization of the chief officers of state and territorial agencies responsible for statewide library development. Its purpose is to provide leadership on issues of common concern and national interest; to further state library agency relationships with federal government and national organizations; and to initiate cooperative action for the improvement of library services to the people of the United States. Visit cosla.org.