The Washington Post reported on April 25 that the Obama administration has told federal agencies to cancel their print subscriptions to Federal Register. Though this one incident does not directly affect the availability of this title to libraries, it is part of a larger drift in Washington toward the view that the continued production of what the depository library community has defined as essential print titles has become an unsustainable drag on the federal budget, and falls right in line with calls earlier this month to eliminate the printing of the Congressional Record.
The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) drew up its list of essential print titles because these titles “contain critical information about the U.S. Government or are important reference publications for libraries and the public, and their availability for selection in paper format has been deemed essential for the purposes of the FDLP.”
If the print versions of these titles are still important to our libraries and our users, we need to be explaining why. Libraries were caught unprepared when Statistical Abstract and other Census Bureau titles on this list came under attack earlier this year. We need to be proactive to stave off attacks on the other titles on this list, or be better prepared when they come.
You might want to let the White House know that the printed publication of a core list of essential titles is still a critical function of an open government. You can provide your comments to the White House at 202-456-1111.