FDLPI recently attended the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Conference in Arlington, Virginia, October 16 – 18, 2017.  This annual conference brings together federal depository librarians throughout the country, and allows them to meet with and hear from the Depository Library Council (DLC), the Superintendent of Documents, and the staff of the Government Publishing Office (GPO).  These entities supervise and offer guidance to the libraries in the federal depository program.

Brooklyn Law School Library is one of over a thousand federal depository libraries located throughout the United States in academic, government and public libraries.  The mission of the Federal Depository Library Program is to provide free, ready, and permanent public access to federal government information, now and for future generations.  The BLS Library became a federal depository in 1974, and as such we receive government documents in print, digital and microfiche formats.  Among the titles that we receive from the GPO, the distributor for the FDLP, are the United States Code, United States Reports, the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, and the Congressional Record.

There were over 40 programs held during the three day conference.  Some of the topics covered were: Disaster Preparedness and the Response in the FDLP – Hurricanes Harvey & Irma; to SuDoc or Not: Organizing Your Documents Collection to Meet Your Patrons’ Needs; When Women Didn’t Count: Gaps in Federal Statistics; the U.S. Courts: Our Library Program, PACER, and Opinions n FDsys; and the New U.S. Government Online Bookstore.

Some of the other interesting programs I attended were:

  • Title 44 Reform:  GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks has charged the DLC with making recommendations for changes to Chapter 19, Title 44, of the U.S. Code, including requiring legislative, executive, and judicial branch agencies to deposit authenticated electronic publications with the GPO; remove the requirement that a depository library hold at least 10,000 books because it is no longer a metric for success or sustainability; permit regional depositories to share their collections and services across state lines, so long as the Senators in all the involved states agree; and authorize the GPO to digitize previously printed historical materials disseminated to the public; etc.
  • Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sanchez gave an overview of the various collections of the Law Library of Congress and stated that they have a mandate to serve all three branches of government; the Law Library of Congress has nearly three million volumes and that half of the collection is foreign and international material. She has started working on a project with the Superintendent of Documents to digitize the U.S. Supreme Court Records & Briefs and the Serial Set (a historical collection of government documents which includes Congressional reports, documents & prints, among other material).
  • Meg Phillips, External Affairs Liaison, at the National Archives and Records Administration, gave an overview of the holdings of the National Archives, including a brief history of presidential libraries and presidential records, and described the congressional records and court records held by NARA.
  • Robert Berry, BLS alumnus of the class of 1999, and now Manager of the Patent & Trademark Resource Center Program in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) spoke, along with Librarian Tiffany Mair, about the work of the 87 libraries in their system.  He also presented historical information and illustrations of the three types of patents available from the USPTO: utility, design, and plant patents.
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About Linda Holmes
I am the Associate Law Librarian at Brooklyn Law School Library. You may contact me at: linda.holmes@brooklaw.edu

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