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A new look at a time-honored program

Government Printing Office via Politic365.
Government Printing Office via Politic365.

Below is a blog post compiled by Barbie Selby, a member of the American Library Association’s Government Information Subcommittee regarding her experience at the Government Printing Office’s (GPO) Depository Library Council & Conference last week. For the first time, the conference was held entirely at the GPO in downtown Washington, D.C.

This has been a great conference. While holding it at GPO presented some building navigation challenges, and didn’t as easily allow for chance meetings in the hotel restaurant or bar, it has really gone pretty smoothly. Many folks hadn’t had the chance to spend much time in “the big red building” and, I think, enjoyed the experience. The GPO staff who’ve helped us find our rooms and hosted us have all been wonderful.

Programming I’ve attended has been really good. The idea that Council sessions have to remain in Hasse Hall might need to be re-examined since a number of other programs definitely outdrew the Council sessions. Slides from all the sessions are posted and available for everyone to view. If you’re at all interested in government information, take a look at the offerings. I will certainly go back and look at some sessions I missed in person and re-look at some I attended–probably stealing (with appropriate attribution) from some for future class sessions.

The unveiling of GPO’s new National Plan for the Future of the FDLP is the most important and challenging event of the conference. I don’t think anyone who’s read the Ithaka S&R report or is familiar with the ASERL Collaborative Federal Library Program would fail to detect similarities between the current proposal and these activities. But, I think that is a sign that GPO is prepared to accept and embrace a potentially quite different model for government information.

The proposal for a new National Plan is just that – a proposal. GPO and the Depository Library Council want our thoughts, feedback, and suggestions for different names – not sure that Federal Information Access Library Program (FIALP) and Federal Information Access Assurance Partners (FIAAP) exactly roll off the tongue. To be fully implemented, it will require changes to Title 44. While that won’t happen for some time as the wise Dan O’Mahony pointed out we might be able to use pilot projects as proof of concept for ideas that were presented and others that will flow from this. It’s my hope that GPO, government information professionals, library associations, and others will creatively and strategically push perceived – and real- boundaries to ensure both access and preservation of government information for the future.

Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks, in her opening remarks and in bill S. 1947 (introduced to change the name of the Government Printing Office to the Government Publishing Office), left no doubt in anyone’s mind that she is up to the challenge and eager to ‘get the show on the road.’

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Jazzy Wright

Jazzy Wright is a former press officer of the Washington Office.

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