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Subject: GPO and Library Services are Going Green!

GPO’s Library Services and Content Management (LSCM) unit is committed to carrying out our mission of “Keeping America Informed” by producing and distributing a vast array of Federal government information products and has been doing so for over 140 years. LSCM is making strides to, not only keep and strengthen this commitment, but to do so in an eco-friendly manner. LSCM has looked for ways to improve existing services and practices while doing its part to preserve the earth for generations to come.

Reducing paper usage has been one major area of focus within LSCM. As many GPO resources are making an electronic transition, GPO is doing its part to save on paper waste. Some of the important resources that have gone electronic are:

  • The Federal Depository Library Directory (FDLD): Through a new, dynamic online interface The FDLD provides important information on every depository library, such as mailing address, Web site, Director, Depository number and more. Additionally, depositories can edit their own library’s information online.
  • The Federal Depository Library Handbook: Now online as a living document, the Handbook contains legal requirements, program requirements, and guidance for depository operations. Each chapter also includes best practices, tips, and resources for library administrators.
  • At the recommendation of the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer, GPO requested of the Joint Committee on Printing that there be a waiver of the requirement of Title 44, Section 1711 to print the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and the Congressional Serial Set Catalog. This was approved and GPO has instituted an online replacement using the OPAC module of our Aleph Integrated Library System. The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications with the searchable subsets of serial set, periodicals, and serials records online has proven to be a successful new online resource.
  • The List of Classes: Previously, this publication was published bi-monthly, and two copies were sent to each depository. In current practice, this publication is published twice per year and one copy is sent to each depository. Electronic files of data from the List of Classes are updated monthly and uploaded to GPO’s Federal Bulletin Board on the first Friday of each month.
  • Administrative Notes: Now available in electronic form only.
  • Item selection update cycle materials: Now online functions.

LSCM’s Depository Distribution business unit has undergone some eco-friendly changes as well. Process changes in invoice management have heavily minimized the number of photocopied pages that are produced in the packaging and preparing processes. Also, previous methods for preparing depository shipments formerly utilized upwards of 10 zone sheets per shipment. New processes utilize only one. In regard to box preparation, large boxes were formerly utilized, and filler was added if boxes were not at full capacity. Now, smaller boxes are being used, and fill has been eliminated.

LSCM’s use of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for answering customer inquiries has significantly reduced paper waste. The CRM provides an electronic record of customer transactions, which previously was recorded via paper logs.

In each of LSCM’s intricate processes in producing and distributing Federal government publications, all materials which can be recycled are recycled. Cardboard, microfiche, printer cartridges, and paper are recycled throughout each process in LSCM. Furthermore, LSCM management has undertaken a mission to educate staff with small tips to reduce waste, such as optimally utilizing paper, electricity conservation, and water conservation.

As we work to help GREEN the GPO, tell us what you think. Any suggestions? How are all of you doing this at your libraries?

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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