February has been designated by The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) as Love My Federal Depository Library month. The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was created by Congress to ensure access to published government information by all Americans. In 1941, FSU Libraries was designated as a Federal Depository Library, allowing the Libraries to provide free equitable access to U.S. government publications to the FSU and Tallahassee Community for free. FSU Libraries is also a State of Florida Depository, and a United Nations Depository Library, two additional designations we have held since 1967.
44 U.S. Code § 1901 defines a US Government publication as “informational matter which is published as an individual document at Government expense, or as required by law” (Pub. L. 90–620, Oct. 22, 1968, 82 Stat. 1283). Simply, Government information are publications produced by the different agencies of government. Some examples of government information are: bills and statutes, the U.S. budget, the Congressional Record, the Congressional Directory, the Constitution of the United States (including analysis and interpretation), Compilations of Presidential Papers, Economic Indicators, the Occupational Handbook, the US Government Manual, executive agency publications and regulations, judicial publications (court opinions and independent counsel investigations), and the Statutes at Large.
As the leading academic institution in the Florida capital, FSU also complies with the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C. 1B-6.001) that requires us to collect and keep annual or biennial reports of State of Florida agencies and sub-agencies, session laws and statutes of the State, legislative journals, statistical publications of the State covering at least one year, and series publications having monographic titles other than newsletters. Our State materials can be used alongside other academic publications for free by the public.
As a federally mandated depository library, FSU commits to supporting the public’s right to know about the workings and activities of the Federal Government by providing free public access to both tangible and online publications distributed by the Government Publishing Office. Our collections support excellence in research and instruction across all disciplines at FSU covering business and the economy, education, the environment, health and safety, history, politics, law, science and technology, people and cultures, and census, demographics and urban planning.
In November 2009, the Deans and Directors of member institutions of the Association of South Eastern Research Libraries (ASERL) that serve as regional or selective Federal Depository Libraries affirmed that Federal documents collections in the Southeast Region are valuable assets for the holding library, the State where each collection resides, and the region as a whole. As a result, they agreed to plan collectively for management of federal documents held by ASERL libraries in collaboration with other Federal Depository Libraries in the area. As one of our many contributions, FSU is designated as a Center of Excellence for committing to collect and maintain 3 areas of Federal Government documents in:
- Economic Development Administration (1965 to Present)
- Federal Security Agency (1939 to 1969)
- Department of the Army, Area Handbooks and Country Studies
Such commitments have made FSU Libraries the hub for government information research in the Florida Panhandle, and strengthens our standing as research library. In May 2017, FSU Libraries celebrated the 75th anniversary of our depository status. The event was graced by depository libraries in the Florida Panhandle as well as the Chief of Staff of the Government Publishing Office. A special plaque was presented to the library to commemorate the event. In June 2017, FSU was awarded the ALA/ProQuest Government Documents Roundtable “Documents to the People Award” for our outstanding work in Government information services. In October, FSU changed our Item Selection Profile (ISP) to a primarily electronic collection. This move has not only saved staff time for the manual processing of documents, but it also increases access to our collection. As a result of the changes in our ISP, FSU now provides access to 95% of all federal electronic resources distributed by GPO.
One activity that is held monthly by the Government Documents Department is the display of documents that bring national events closer to our community. These have included displays that celebrate: Black History Month; Women’s History; Memorial Day; Constitution Week; Hispanic Heritage Month; the US Elections and Voting; and Veteran’s Day.
We encourage the FSU and Tallahassee community to come visit our collection and enjoy the wealth of information funded by your tax dollars. Government documents at FSU are uniquely housed in the Scholars Commons Department in the lower level of Strozier Libraries. All depository materials are available to the public (including non-FSU members) for as long as the library is open, and can be browsed with minimal assistance. Public access is also granted to our vast holdings of electronic resources that contain historical archives of government documents. To know more about our government documents collection, please visit the FSU Libraries’ Government documents webpage as well as our Government information research guide, or contact Mohamed Berray, Social Sciences Librarian, and Coordinator for Government Documents.
Now that you know some reasons to love your FDL, tweet @FSULibrary using #lovemyFDL to share your own discoveries with us!