GPO Plans Collection of Last Resort
The Government Printing Office has been exploring the idea of developing a backup library that would serve as a collection of last resort, a proposal that has raised concerns among librarians.
In a discussion draft of the plan, the GPO states that the collection will encompass some 2.2 million titles, consisting of 60 million pages, which will be stored in both tangible and electronic formats. Access copies of the digital documents will be available online for public use, as well as by print-on-demand and document-delivery services.
The tangible collection will be housed in the Washington, D.C., area, with the online collection located in multiple facilities for redundancy and safety. GPO has asked for $1.5 million in its FY2005 budget request to cover startup costs. The project's eventual cost is estimated at $50 million.
The American Library Association commented on the discussion draft in a May 14 letter expressing a myriad of concerns over the plan, including its cost, its potential effect on local depository library collections, whether fees would be charged to the public, and whether it represents an "appropriate balance in the allocation of GPO's resources. …