BATTLE FRONT: Federal Depository Library Program

Serious budget battles are before us as library supporters.  Key federal library programs including those within the Government Printing Office (GPO), the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the Federal Digital System (FDsys) are gravely threatened as Congress and the White House slash appropriations on all kinds of federal programs.

It may be unfortunate to use the “war” theme but if our advocacy strategies are not focused and successful, the American public stands to lose important library and information services.

ALA asks advocates from across the spectrum of library users and supporters to “re-educate” members of Congress about the important role that the FDLP plays in over 1000 libraries as well as online through FDsys. There are many new members of Congress who may not be familiar with the FDLP and these related programs.

As part of the effort to fight major cuts threatening the FDLP, FDsys and the GPO, the Government Information Subcommittee (GIS) of ALA’s Committee on Legislation (COL) prepared the information provided in the action alert.  This alert includes an overview and key points about the importance of public access to government information.

ALA asks library advocates to utilize the Legislative Action Center to contact your respective senators and Congressional representatives about the importance of transparency and access to government information as an inherent element of a democratic society.  If you are not already familiar with how these federal information services are used in your community, please check with your local library director or depository librarian to find out more.  Please utilize the information provided in the alert and local examples of how these resources are being used to express the importance of these programs.

This initiative cannot be a one-time effort, but will hopefully lead to an ongoing relationship between library supporters and their respective congressional offices on FDLP/FDsys as well as other federal-level library programs.

Advocates are encouraged to stay in touch with the ALA Office of Government Relations (OGR) and to share any feedback or questions with ALA staffers, as ongoing relationships with Hill offices develop. On these GPO-related issues, please contact:  Jessica McGilvray (jmcgilvray@alawash.org).

Note:  The battle to save FDsys and FDLP is one of the important battles — and one of the early battles because of the schedule for Congressional appropriations.  But there are other battles pending such as funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and school libraries, to name just two. Stay tuned for other advocacy alerts.

ALA thanks all library advocates for their ongoing efforts to save library funding and programs — at the federal, state and local level.  We will stay in touch and offer support and information as these battles proceed.  It is only through strong grassroots advocacy that library services can prevail in this “war.”

About Jessica McGilvray

Jessica McGilvray is a former member of the Washington Office government relations team.

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