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Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia State Plan

This guide helps federal depository libraries coordinate the actions of the individual libraries that make up the Federal Depository Library System of Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia in order to provide better service to our public.

Goal and Purpose

Goal: To ensure that the scope of the collection is appropriate to the specific user groups served, and that selective housing agreements are held to the same standards as other Federal Depository Libraries.

Purpose: Each institution participating in the FDLP acknowledges its responsibility to provide open and equal access to federal information for the general public.

Item Selection

  • Scope - The scope of an individual institution's collection should be geared to serve its constituency. In addition to the defined population identified by the institution's mission, the needs of the general public who may look to that institution for federal information must be considered.

  • Basic Collection - Each selective depository in the region selects or makes available via electronic means, the titles identified by GPO as the Basic Collection.

  • Cooperation - It is understood that limitations on resources such as personnel, space, and budget, may make it impossible for an individual selective depository to provide access to all federal information that may be desired by the local population. Each federal depository library is encouraged to enter cooperative efforts with other local depositories. It is also desirable for selectives to make liberal use of the resources of the regional depository when referring patrons. Tools available for ascertaining the selections of other depositories include the FDLP Item Lister, WorldCat, and the Union List of Item Selections.

  • Format - Federal documents have been disseminated in paper, microform, CD-ROM, DVD, and in electronic format. The inclusion of hot links into a depository's catalog or webpages to online documents is encouraged by the GPO in order to offer the widest possible visible access. Individual depository libraries must evaluate their resources, compare available formats, and select the format or formats most useful to their users. 

    • The variety of formats available historically has been the subject of much debate in recent years. Due to changes in technology, user preference, and publishing practice, microfiche dissemination to depository libraries was phased out between 2021 and 2023.

    • In January 2022, GPO Director Hugh Nathanial Halpern appointed a Task Force to study the feasibility of a digital FDLP. After much research and study, the Task Force determined that GPO can and should implement such a move. This implementation is currently in progress.

Collection Maintenance

Selective Housing - It is recognized that a depository library may find that it serves the needs of the population better if a part of the federal depository collection is housed in a location separate from the majority of the federal documents. This may be due to a specialized library or department existing within the designated institution. In such cases, a selective housing arrangement may be advantageous. More information is available at Selective Housing Agreements.

Weeding the Collection - Documents distributed through the FDLP are, and remain, Government property. Selective depositories, other than federal agencies, wishing to dispose of such documents will follow the guidelines set forth at Weeding a Depository Collection. Procedures established by the Regional Library will be followed. Our region utilizes the FDLP eXchange tool. Federal agency libraries should consider offering serial titles to their region before discarding titles as specified in 44 USC 19 Sec. 1907.

Written Collection Development Policy

Each federal depository library will maintain a written collection development policy that accounts for the informational needs of its constituent population and others who look to the depository to fulfill their federal information needs. This policy will include the depository's strategy for meeting those needs, including cooperative efforts such as interlibrary loan.

In order that the Federal Documents collection remain vital and continue to reflect the needs of the library's users, revisions to a depository library's selection policy will be made as needed.

Public Access

Public Access - Federal depository libraries are encouraged to maintain a website showcasing their services and highlighting the various ways patrons may access government information from the institution. From the Public Access Assessments: Guidelines for completing the initial review: 

“Access is defined as providing free public access to Federal Government information products regardless of format. It involves making Federal Government information products available and usable for all library patrons, including those with disabilities and those of all ages. It also involves but is not necessarily limited to bibliographic, physical building, tangible collection, onsite computer, and Internet access. It is the degree to which the public is able to retrieve or obtain the information products, either through the FDLP or directly through a digital information service established and maintained by a Government agency or its authorized agent or other delivery channels, in a useful available format or medium, and in a time frame whereby the information has utility.”