50 Years of the FDLP…. What’s the FDLP?

FDLP & VLS Logo copy

This year, the Villanova University School of Law Library will celebrate 50 years as a participant in the Federal Depository Library Program, or FDLP.  This is an exciting milestone, and we will be organizing some events in the fall to recognize it.  To lead up to this, we will be running a series of blog posts highlighting our involvement in the FDLP.

So… What’s the FDLP?

Certain libraries across the country, designated as “federal depository libraries,” receive regular shipments of federal government documents, such as congressional hearings, the Federal Register, agency reports, and the United States Code, among many others.  Although some depository libraries retain copies of all government documents (these are known as regional depository libraries), most libraries that participate in the FDLP, including Villanova Law Library, are selective depository libraries, which carry only a selected portion of the full scope of government publications.

The upside?  It’s free! (relatively).  We do not have to pay for the books or shipping.

The catch?  Well, we have to catalog and make room for all these documents, retain them according to specific rules, and provide access to these documents for the public.

More information about the FDLP program can be found at http://www.fdlp.gov/

Some stats and facts (courtesy of our Associate Director for Collection Management, Steve Elkins):

  • The Villanova Law Library has cataloged over 68,000 volumes of government documents spread across over 49,000 distinct titles (there are still thousands of hearings that are not yet cataloged).
  • The cataloged government documents are 18.8% of the library’s official volumes count of 366,275.
  • Our government documents occupy 2,646 shelves (7,938 linear feet), or over 14% of the total shelf space in the library.

If you are interested in learning more about our government documents collection, please come see the librarians, or just browse through the collection, most of which is found on the lower level of the library in the compact shelving (i.e. the shelves with the crank-wheels on them).

We will be writing more about the FDLP in the coming months.  Please contact us at reference@law.villanova.edu if you have specific questions or suggestions for future posts.

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