If you’re like me, you’ve waited until the last minute to submit your 2015 FDLP Biennial Survey. Since this is the season of sharing, I thought I’d post the comments I submitted with my library’s survey. I’d love to hear what others commented. What issues and ideas were most on your minds? If you’re able to share, please do so in the comments. Or you can email me (freegovinfo AT gmail DOT com) if you’d prefer that I post anonymously.
The FDLP is adrift at precisely the wrong moment, in an era that should be an all-hands-on-deck situation in terms of FDLP collections. Collections remain, after all, the basis from which meaningful library services are built. But GPO’s and FDLP libraries’ focus seems elsewhere. Rather than redoubling efforts to collaborate with libraries to build digital collections and ensure that paper collections are adequately preserved and accessible, GPO has instead spent the last 2 years focusing on the needs of a few large libraries instead of the needs of users. GPO has seemed determined to let Regionals discard collections without regard for how that will affect present and future public users of govt information. The FDLP community is left to wonder what the new Discard policy really means for them and for their users, how it will be implemented, and what it means for the future of the FDLP.
GPO has been willing to stretch the intent of T44 in order to allow paper discard from Regional libraries, but unwilling do so to faciliate and promote digital deposit. GPO has been unwilling to create and lead a collaborative, digital FDLP that could supplement the limited enforceability of T44 and expand the reach of the FDLP.
Many FDLP libraries are willing and able to accept digital deposit, but, instead of collaborating with FDLP libraries under T44, GPO has preferred to arrogate all preservation and access to itself. Digital deposit has been on the FDLP biennial survey since at least 2005, yet GPO has failed to respond to the willingness by FDLP libraries to build a collaborative, digital FDLP, preferring, apparently to set up new, secretive “parnerships” separate and apart from the FDLP.
GPO has not done enough to assure that ALL govt information within FDLP scope is collected, cataloged, distributed and preserved. GPO has done far too little about the rapidly growing fugitive issue, with only a small pilot web archiving project and no calls for or efforts at community collaboration. GPO’s training, while honorable in intent, has been overly simplistic and has focused on issues of only peripheral importance while ignoring the big issues (e.g. digital collection development) and not training depository librarians in the skills needed to to adequately deal with them.
GPO needs to refocus its efforts on born-digital fugitive documents, lead real and meaningful collaborative efforts for preservation and access, and use this network of 1200 libraries to tackle the important issues of the day. We’re ready for this to happen.