South Carolina Federal Depository Libraries – State Plan Approved 2012



May 24, 2012


The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by Congress in 1813 to ensure that the American public has access to its Government’s information.  To carry out this mission, the Government Printing Office (GPO) was formed in 1860 to distribute federal publications to depository libraries throughout the United States and its territories. Publications created by the Federal Government and its agencies are provided at no cost to depository libraries, in turn, these libraries provide local, no-fee access to government information in an impartial environment with professional assistance.

Two types of libraries compose the FDLP.  Selective depositories receive a selected portion of materials tailored to individual libraries and the Congressional districts that they serve. Regional depositories receive all government publications distributed by GPO and provide guidance and a variety of services to selective depository libraries in the region or state.  South Carolina’s depository libraries have enjoyed a long history with the FDLP and have been collecting, organizing, maintaining, preserving, and assisting users with federal government information since the establishment of the first South Carolina Federal Depository Library in 1869.

South Carolina FDLs have traditionally shared materials and expertise among individual depositories and cooperatively through the South Carolina State Library.  In response to a Federal Depository Library Council resolution, a State Plan for depository libraries was developed in 1984 to set goals and objectives for the depository libraries in the state. The South Carolina plan proposed a cooperative agreement within the state under the direction of a shared regional program which consisted of the University of South Carolina and Clemson University with administrative support provided by the South Carolina State Library. The state depository library system functioned as a shared regional for 24 years until Clemson relinquished regional status in 2010, leaving the University of South Carolina as a single full service regional depository library.

Since the adoption of the 1984 State Plan, technological advances have changed the way government information is collected, distributed, and accessed.  Electronic file delivery and instant communication has enabled Federal Depository Libraries to find new ways to preserve

and disseminate government information.  In addition, the ease of distribution via the Internet has created an explosion of government information outside of the traditional realm of publishing.  Now, more than ever, specially trained librarians are needed to access, organize, interpret, instruct, and preserve government information available for the public in an increasing variety of formats and delivery methods.

The 2011 revision of the South Carolina State Plan is developed to address current and forthcoming technological advances and to map out a cooperative future among South Carolina’s depository libraries.  The plan maximizes access and service to federal government information in all of South Carolina’s libraries by serving as a guide for enhanced public service, increased access to federal government information, and sharing of expertise and collections.

South Carolina is a unique state in many ways and South Carolina librarians are known for their ability to work well together.  Most if not all of the state’s federal depository libraries participate in PASCAL (Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries) or cooperatively through the South Carolina State Library.  We want to apply this same cooperative spirit to our federal depository program and imagine a new arrangement for South Carolina residents and librarians to access federal government information.  The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) has evolved into a new electronic environment and networking capabilities permit new arrangements for preserving our print and electronic collections

The mission of the South Carolina federal depository libraries is to maximize access and service to federal government information  in all of  South Carolina’s libraries. South Carolina’s federal depository libraries pledge to work:

  • for no-fee public access to government publications through the Federal Depository Library Program,
  • for government publications in formats that keep pace with current technologies,
  • for education in use of government information for users and librarians,
  • for preservation of government information (print and born-digital), and
  • for promotion of collections and services.

South Carolina’s Federal Depository Libraries  pledge to cooperate with standards and requirements of the Government Printing Office.  This State Plan will serve as the guide for cooperation among the libraries, the Government Printing Office, and with any partners to develop effective means of working with the public, enhanced access to the wealth of federal government information, and a sharing of expertise and collections.

Assumptions of the Future

The changing information environment creates uncertainties for the future but we can assume the following:

  • The public will continue to rely more and more on electronic information than print.
  • Online government information will be the standard dissemination format.
  • Internet technologies will enable faster and improved scanning techniques and transmission.
  • Cataloging of older, print collections will increase.
  • Holding records of older, print volumes will increase within OCLC.
  • Large, redundant print collections will decrease in number.
  • Libraries with large, print collections will have space issues requiring tough decisions regarding retention and storage.
  • Libraries will focus more on services including access and digitization than building large collections.
  • Web-based government information will continue to be elusive.


Essential to the State Plan are several partners and the resources provided by the participating libraries.

The primary stakeholders are the, South Carolina Regional Depository Library at the University of South Carolina, South Carolina’s selective federal depositories, the South Carolina State Library and the State Plan Advisory Council.

  1. The South Carolina Regional Depository Library at Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina will oversee development and operation of the selective libraries in the state.  The roles and duties of the Regional Depository Librarian include:
  • confer with any new depository librarian in the state and advise the new depository librarian regarding interlibrary loan, reference assistance, and other services.
  • make periodic visits to the various depository libraries in the state to determine compliance with the State Plan and GPO Guidelines.
  • serve as coordinator for regional depository activities.
  • assist all selective depository libraries in South Carolina in the disposal of unwanted government publications as provided by law.
  • devote attention to the education and training of librarians and other persons interested in the use of federal government publications.
  • hold at least one meeting a year of all federal depository librarians to review the State Plan and their individual and collective responsibilities under the State Plan and the law.
  • submit to the Superintendent of Documents such reports on the operation of the South Carolina State Plan as may be required
  • coordinate retention of and development of retrospective collections of special interest throughout the state.
  • Comply with the duties and roles of a Regional Librarian as set out in 44 U.S. 1912 and in the FDLP Handbook, Chapter 12, and the “Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program” (June 2011).
  • Regional libraries accept and retain one copy of all tangible items offered through the Federal Depository Library Program. They are required to provide the following to selective depository libraries: interlibrary loan; reference and technical processing advice; and approval for disposal of depository materials.

Selective depositories may contact the regional library for but not limited to the following purposes:

  • Instructions for the disposal of material. (see Appendix for procedures);
  • Site Visits;
  • Orientations and/or advice relating to the depository program and procedures;
  • Technical processing advice;
  • Copies of biennial surveys, inspection reports, self studies, collection development statements, memoranda of agreement, etc., related to the functions of the selective depository library;
  • Collection development decisions; including the planning for discard/weeding projects, change in collection emphasis from tangible to electronic, and removal of collection to storage sites.
  • Preparation and approval of selective housing agreements or statements of service for temporary quarters; and
  • Assistance with self study/inspection processes.
  • Interlibrary loan and photocopy services pertaining to documents and microforms of documents;
  • Reference back-up; and
  • Other assistance as needed.
  1. Selective Depository Libraries (see Appendix for list) of South Carolina realize the importance of public service of a documents collection and of strong collections of federal documents for interlibrary loan and reference services. Their roles and duties include:
  • comply with the legal requirements of depository status as set out in the FDLP Handbook Chapter 2 and in 44 U.S.C. Ch 19.
  • provide interlibrary loan and reference services for federal depository documents to all library users.
  • work with the Regional Librarian at the University of South Carolina and the State Plan Advisory Council to assure that retrospective collections are maintained throughout the state.
  • agree to participate in training activities recommended by or sponsored by the Regional Depository Librarian or GPO to develop competency in public service and depository management.
  • attend the state-wide annual general meeting.
  • participate in electronic discussion lists.

If a library becomes non-compliant with the requirements of depository status, it agrees to cooperate with the Regional Depository Librarian to reach compliance.  If it becomes necessary for a library to alter its commitment under the provisions of this plan or the requirements for depository status, at least six (6) months notice of this intention must be given to the Regional Librarian at the University of South Carolina’s Thomas Cooper Library.  If it is determined that the responsibilities of any depository library are to be altered from those set out in or established by the State Plan, the Superintendent of Documents must be notified and must approve the alteration prior to the acceptance of the change.

The Regional Depository Librarian will approve some changes on a case by case review.  These may include:

  • The library plans to reduce its selection rate by more than 25%.
  • The library would like to become an electronic only depository library.
  • The library will experience major physical alterations that will affect access to or service to the depository collection.
  • The library has experience an unanticipated natural disaster that affects the particular library.
  • The South Carolina State Librarian has the following roles and duties:
  • Coordinates a state plan for federal documents depository libraries, as set out in S.C. Code 60-1-60f.
  • Supports the Federal Depository Library Program and free access to government information for all library users.
  • Assists in promotion of depository libraries and federal government information.
  • Includes access to federal government information in plans for statewide library development.
  1. The State Plan Advisory Council (the Council) consisting of two federal documents librarians, the Regional Depository Librarian at the University of South Carolina (permanent), the chair of the South Carolina Library Association’s Government Documents Roundtable (SC-GODORT) (elected annually), and a representative from the State Library will be formed to monitor and implement the State Plan. Selection or election of the non-permanent members will be conducted at the annual meeting of the South Carolina Federal Depository Libraries. Non-permanent members will serve three-year term. No person shall hold two positions within the council.
  1. Once constituted the Council will be known as the South Carolina Council of Federal Depository Libraries (SC-CFDL)
  1. The Council’s role and duties will include:
  • Plan the annual meeting.
  • Evaluate the State Plan for continuing relevance, currency, and adherence to guidelines established by GPO.
  • Encourage current and retrospective collection and retention of federal publications.
  • Facilitate, through the Regional Depository Librarian, training of depository staff.
  • Promote awareness of government information, depository libraries, and training of other librarians in use of federal government information.
  • Make an annual report on the status of the State Plan and of the depository libraries in the state. 

Meetings: The Council will meet at least once a year (usually in May) and will sponsor a general annual meeting.


Resources, as discussed in this section of the plan, include human resources, equipment and space, collections and financial responsibility.

Human Resources

In each depository, there should be a librarian with a master’s degree from an American Library Association accredited program responsible for that library’s depository collection.  This position will be called  the “depository coordinator” The depository coordinator will  serve as the contact person for other libraries and the Government Printing Office.  The primary focus of the depository coordinator will be management and operation of the federal depository services and collection.

Adequate training of all staff responsible for processing and reference service for government information is essential.  In-service training within the library and sharing of expertise among depository libraries is necessary in order to maximize use of financial resources, organizational time, and staff.  The regional and selective depositories have sponsored or cosponsored training programs and should continue to do so with the cooperation of the South Carolina Council of Federal Depository Libraries and the Government Documents Round Table of the South Carolina Library Association.

All depository library staff must be proficient in the use of electronic information. From time to time, staff may need to enroll in training sessions or classes offered by professional organizations, consortia, colleges, library science programs, government agencies, or consultants to maintain or enhance their skills.. Another option is attending the Annual Depository Library Conference usually held each October.

Equipment and Space

The volume and type of materials sent to depositories free of charge from the U.S. Government Printing Office may require purchase or replacement of equipment such as microform readers/printers,  copy machines, various computer workstations/laptops, printers, video players, fax machines, shelving, storage cabinets, and other equipment and supplies.  Depository libraries must also provide adequate network access and capacity to use the ever growing electronic only resources.

Adequate space is necessary to properly maintain, organize, and make government information in all formats available to the public. To assist with planning for future space needs, collection development policies should be written in coordination with other depository libraries, especially within congressional districts, to insure that the information needs of citizens are met as broadly and as deeply as possible by a library nearby, and to prevent unnecessary duplicate acquisition of little-used items.

Financial Responsibility

Libraries are responsible for providing funding for depository functions.  This financial commitment is a major responsibility and requires planning on the part of each library.  Every depository library must include funding for equipment. In addition, non-depository reference materials should be acquired, as appropriate.  Funds should be available for staff to participate as members of the South Carolina Council of Federal Depository Libraries. Travel to meetings should be supported with time and funding.  When possible, enrollment in workshops, symposia, and classes should be budgeted.

The regional library will provide funding for coordinating the depository library program in South Carolina by assisting with mailings, assisting with the printing of guides and promotional materials, assisting with promotional activities, coordinating with other documents-related networks, and working with the South Carolina Council of Federal Depository Libraries to obtain grants, legislative support, etc. The regional library will provide space, shelving, equipment, bibliographic control and staff to meet the responsibilities of permanent retention of federal government information and its retrieval and dissemination.  The official electronic discussion list will be administered by the University of South Carolina.  Regional library will provide assistance to libraries and selective depositories as listed throughout this plan.


Each depository library should have a collection development policy for or including federal depository library materials.  The policy should reflect all of the requirements in Chapter 5 of the Federal Depository Library Manual.

The Regional Depository Library will continue to receive all tangible items (printed, electronic, and microform) materials available from the Government Printing Office.  In addition, the regional will also strive to retrospectively fill gaps in its collection from state and national discard lists.  One goal of the regional’s collection will be to have adequate copies of materials about South Carolina.  The extent of the regional’s retrospective collection building will be dependent on the availability of resources, including staff, time, and space available to house collections.  The regional, if possible will participate in regional (ASERL) and national collection sharing projects that will enhance access to government information for all South Carolinians. Participation in the projects will be communicated to the South Carolina depository libraries.

Statewide goals for depository resources include:

  • maintain current and historic collections in print or electronic formats.
  • provide and managing the space necessary for those collections.
  • provide equipment in support of appropriate formats.
  • employ adequate staff to support those collections.
  • educate depository staff in use of collections.
  • promote depository collections and government information in all libraries.

All libraries will

  • work towards full compliance with Instructions to Depository Libraries.
  • support minimal technical requirements for both staff and public workstations.
  • create a collection development plan that includes electronic formats.
  • follow state disposal guidelines. (See Appendix)
  • provide training on accessing federal government information to staff within their own institutions.

The Regional library will

  • Actively develop a retrospective collection for the state.
  • develop promotional materials
  • provide assistance to depository libraries within the state in securing replacements for lost or damaged depository materials.

Selective libraries will

  • develop and communicate collection strengths.
  • appoint a full-time depository coordinator if selection rate exceeds 50%.

In addition, the deans/directors of libraries housing the South Carolina’s federal documents depository collections agree to provide:

  • service by staff members, as invited, on the South Carolina Council of Federal Depository Libraries;
  • cooperation with the regional depository with respect to discards, training, visits, and other activities;
  • inclusion in all budgetary and resource planning of staff and funds needed to make government information in all formats available to the public;
  • cooperation in comparing, discussing, and amending current item selections and disposing of unwanted material to achieve balanced selections both currently and retrospectively;
  • guarantee of public access;
  • Interlibrary loan of documents;
  • promotion of the collection by displaying the FDLP logo and including the collection in descriptions of library holdings.


In accordance with the Instructions to Depository Libraries, all libraries provide access to government information of all types and in all formats to and beyond their primary clientele.  Host institutions have agreed to provide facilities and equipment to support access, use, loan, and replication (copying) of documents.  Librarians and documents staff should be trained to assist users.

Council will

  • develop and support training opportunities in the use and access of government information for librarians, staff, and public, in both the annual meeting and throughout the year.

All libraries

  • will work towards full compliance with Instructions to Depository Libraries.
  • are encouraged to include complete holdings for government information in their online catalogs.
  • are encouraged to attach their holdings for government documents on bibliographic utilities such as OCLC.
  • are encouraged to include links to electronic government information in their online catalogs and perform link-checking as appropriate.
  • will ensure access to government information on an unfiltered workstation, even if access is mediated.
  • maintain appropriate access to the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and its predecessors, including those in tangible formats.
  • are encouraged to develop their government information web pages and guides.
The Regional Library will
  • continue to advise selective depositories on access issues.
  • take a lead in educating depository staff in awareness of and use of significant federal publications.

Selective libraries will

  • keep regional libraries informed when specific access issues arise.
  • Seek opportunities to educate their patrons and other library staff.

South Carolina State Librarian will

  • Support the free access to government information through depositories.


Depository libraries provide free use of information for the general public, including those beyond their primary clientele.  To serve both depository and non-depository libraries and patrons within the state, the primary stakeholders will meet these goals as follows:


  • will monitor and revise the state plan.
  • support the development of Internet and web services to serve both the public and the library community.
  • continue to advise the State Librarian in all matters relating to federal government information service.

All libraries

  • will work towards full compliance with Instructions to Depository Libraries.
  • will have a service policy including electronic formats.
  • provide no-fee ILL service of tangible government documents.
  • work toward having web-based information on the documents collection and on government information.

The Regional Library will

  • provide orientation to new documents librarians and staff.
  • provide back-up reference service to depository libraries.
  • provide consultative services and participate in inspection visits.
  • establish a means of quantifying reference service for inclusion in library statistics.
Selective libraries will
  • in a timely manner, inform the regional library and the GPO regarding staff changes.

The State Librarian will

  • support training programs for depository staff.
  • encourage training for librarians in public libraries.


Depository libraries will promote the Federal Depository Library Program and government documents to the general public, highlighting the value of primary statistical and legislative material and the monetary and informational value of the historic collections within the state.

Council will

  • investigate training of library staff in public libraries.
  • investigate ways of promotion to the public.

All libraries will

  • work towards full compliance with Instructions to Depository Libraries.
  • communicate with legislators on depository issues as appropriate.
  • maintain web sites and post their depository’s policies, and consider posting information about accessing and using federal government information.

Regional Library will

  • identify potential new depository libraries.
  • identify unserved and underserved areas in the state and notify neighboring depositories.
  • assist in the development and production of promotional materials.

Selective libraries will

  • use the promotional tools developed by GPO for the FDLP to promote services.

investigate ways to promote services to non-depository libraries in their congressional districts as well as to the general public.

The State Librarian will

  • Coordinate use of State resources such as technology and state government websites to promote the FDLP in South Carolina.
  • Support promotion and outreach to public libraries.

Cooperative efforts among stakeholders include:

  • sharing promotional materials, ideas, and activities


The State Plan is to be used as a mission statement, a planning document, and a statement of responsibility for South Carolina depositories.   It is to be viewed as a flexible, living document that will be expanded and amended as needs dictate.  The Plan should be used in conjunction with such tools and guides as the Federal Depository Library Handbook, A Directory of U.S. Government Depository Libraries, and other similar publications and directives from the Government Printing Office relating to the depository system.   It is recommended that each depository keep a copy of the State Plan in a convenient location, along with the above listed titles, in-house manuals, and other guides, for easy staff accessibility.


This plan may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the South Carolina depository libraries voting on the amendment at the next general meeting.  Each library has one vote.  Amendments may be proposed by a majority of the members of the South Carolina Council of Federal Depository Libraries or by the co-sponsorship of any five (5) or more South Carolina depository libraries.  One copy of the proposed amendment, with written verification of the co-sponsorships, must be submitted to the council secretary no later than ten (10) working days prior to the council’s announced meeting.  The council secretary will be responsible for notifying all members of the council and the depository libraries of the proposed amendment.

The Council, on approving consideration of a proposed amendment, shall specify whether a vote on ratification shall be taken at the general meeting,  by mail, or through electronic means.  If a mail or electronic vote is designated, the council shall establish the time for the beginning and closing of the balloting.  If a vote at the general meeting is designated, at least one month’s written notice shall be given to the member libraries of the text of the proposed amendment.  A depository library not represented at the general meeting may vote by absentee ballot.  Absentee ballots should be received by the council secretary at least five (5) days prior to the meeting.


The South Carolina State Plan, its amendments, and any actions taken to implement the State Plan must comply with all of the applicable provisions of 44 U.S.C. 1901-1916. If there is any conflict between those statutory provisions and the State Plan, Chapter 19 of Title 44 must take precedence.  The provisions of the State Plan are deemed severable.   Therefore, should any provision or amendment be determined to be void for any reason, the State Plan should be read as if the voided provision or amendment were not part thereof.

Bibliographic note:

This plan has relied heavily on plans from Wyoming and Michigan, as well as the State Plan for Federal Depository Libraries in South Carolina (1984).

List of Appendices

Appendix A – Roster of South Carolina Federal Depository Libraries (include a link to the FDLP Desktop Directory)

Appendix B – Guidelines for the Disposition of Depository materials for South Carolina Federal Depository Libraries

Appendix C – ASERL Cooperative Federal Depository Library Implementation Plan (April 2011)

Appendix D – ASERL Centers of Excellence Program

Appendix E – The ASERL Disposition Database

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