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Section 1. Introduction: California State Plan for Federal Depository Libraries in the State of California
In 1895 the United States Congress created the Federal Depository Library Program to ensure that the American public has access to its government's information. In California the responsibility for carrying out this goal rests with one Regional and 77 selective libraries. In keeping with the state's geographic and cultural diversity, these libraries range from small local libraries in the rural and sparsely-populated northern counties to large academic and public libraries in the densely-populated southern part of the state, over 700 miles away. What gathers these very different libraries together into a powerful and cohesive whole is their common resolve to carry out the mission of the FDLP and bring federal government information, in whatever form it exists, to the various populations they serve throughout the state.
The California State Library (CSL) is the Regional federal depository for California. It received its depository designation in 1895 and became the Regional in 1962. CSL's Regional responsibilities fall into 2 main areas. The first is in the acquisition, organization, preservation, and making available to the public all publications distributed by the U.S. Government Publications Office. The second is in the oversight of, and relationship with, the selective depository community.
To fulfill its first obligation, CSL selects over 99% of all titles offered for distribution by the USGPO. (The few titles not selected are duplicates of materials CSL receives as one of 5 Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries in California.). These selected materials are in a variety of formats: paper, microfiche, CD-ROM, DVD, and internet, and all are available to the public who come into the library, to other libraries on interlibrary loan, and, in the case of electronic documents, to persons using CSL's web-based catalog and databases. This catalog is updated weekly with the latest federal depository document information, so that patrons have timely access to federal publications received at CSL. To enhance this extensive depository collection, CSL purchases a variety of privately-published indexes and microform materials which provide access to documents either not in the Library or which are too rare or fragile to circulate.
As the Regional Depository for California CSL has oversight of the selective depository community. Its responsibilities include extensive involvement in the formation of new depositories as well as in the relinquishing of depository status. In the latter case, CSL tries to insure that all depository materials held by the library in question are distributed to the best advantage so that information is not lost to a specific depository population. CSL receives notice of all depository materials a selective wishes to discard, and often claims copies for itself to insure that it is maintaining a complete and available collection. The library staff are available from 8-5, Monday-Friday, to answer questions from the selective library community on matters of collection development, self-study, claims, interpretation of GPO Instructions, etc. CSL participates in GPO inspections and acts as a liaison between selectives and GPO on matters of non-compliance with GPO guidelines and other policy issues. CSL lends its materials or makes duplicates, free of charge, when California selective libraries are missing depository items, and it may be considered a "library-of-last-resort" for selectives with obscure reference requests.
In order to maintain its leadership role within the federal depository community in California, CSL participates in a variety of local and nation-wide meetings, conferences and listserves in order to stay abreast of the latest developments of interest to documents librarians. CSL representatives attend the twice-yearly Depository Library Council meetings convened by GPO to inform librarians of GPO's current activities, to make librarians aware of new products and services, and to receive input from the community on actions it would like to see take place. At these meetings there is a separate session where the Regional libraries gather to discuss their common concerns and to propose recommendations to make to the Council as a whole. These discussions continue throughout the year via a listserve for Regional libraries. At the statewide level, CSL participates in a northern California documents group, meeting twice a year to discuss current issues such as collection development, electronic access and preservation, etc. CSL organizes statewide conferences, held either in northern or southern California to gain the widest possible participation from all types and sizes of depository libraries in order to insure that the concerns of these libraries have a forum for discussion.
There are 93 federal depository libraries in California, more than in any other state. Each library fulfills its responsibilities to the particular local community it serves (academic staff, students, legislators, judges, the general public, etc.), and each works with all of the other depositories to ensure that the public has access to the information products of the United States government.