Table of Contents

  1. The Michigan Depository Library Program: An Overview
  2. Michigan Council of Federal Depository Libraries Meeting Scheduled
  3. Council of Federal Depository Libraries Biennial Meeting Minutes
  4. Statewide Periodicals Database Set for July
  5. SPAN Database Available from Library of Michigan
  6. Depository Librarian Orientation Announced
  7. Public and Local Acts

(1) The Michigan Depository Library Program: An Overview

Abstract: This article is based on a presentation given to the staff of the MSU Libraries on March 19, 1997. It very briefly introduces the depository program, its history, what materials are distributed and to whom, and the responsibilities of a depository library.


The purpose of a document depository program is to make government information available to the public, thereby providing for an informed citizenry. This principle is a foundation of our democracy. The Michigan Territorial government instituted a document exchange program as early as 1829, and in the 1850's a deposit plan operated for a short time. But Michigan's first real commitment to public access to state documents came during the progressive social changes of the 1890's. During this time a dramatic shift in the services provided by the Michigan State Library took place. Prior to 1895 the library served only the legislature, the governor's office and the courts. After passage of PA 28 of 1895 the library began providing a variety of services to citizens of the state. Included in this act were broadly worded provisions allowing the deposit of public documents in Michigan libraries and the creation of exchanges with libraries in other states. This was the awakening of the "spirit" of the depository program as it exists today.

For the next 70 years a variety of programs came and went. Between 1966-1970 the depository program as we know it today was developed. The selective receipt of publications was eliminated. Depository libraries had to agree to retain and make available the items they received. A concerted effort was made to locate depositories in all areas of the state. No citizen was to be more than 60 miles, or one hour driving time, from a depository collection.

In 1976 the depository system was given legal status with the passage of PA 367 of 1976. The provisions of this law were kept intact when administrative responsibility for the State Library was transferred to the Legislature in PA 540 of 1982. This act created the Library of Michigan.

Michigan documents librarians began lobbying for written guidelines in the mid 1970's. The Manual for Michigan State Documents Depository Libraries was finally issued in 1994. The Manual provides a wealth of information about the depository program.


If your library has been designated as a depository for Michigan government publications, what does it receive? First and foremost, a depository library receives shipments of documents. But how much of the output of state government is actually included? The law requires state agencies to supply 75 copies of any publication issued for other than internal purposes for distribution, but often it doesn't happen. Some agencies are unaware of the law, and some publications are issued in numbers too few to supply to depositories. Then there are conflicting regulations requiring agencies to recover the cost of publications, making it impossible for them to comply with the depository law.

Getting documents into the system has been a major problem since the program's inception. In fiscal 1973 less than a third of the titles received for addition to the State Library's documents collection were available in sufficient numbers to be sent to depositories. During 1996 a giant step toward improving this situation was made when the Library of Michigan designated a staff person to be responsible for informing state government offices of the law and tracking down copies of documents. Between July and October of 1996 depository shipments almost doubled in size. From October 1996 through July 1997, 1073 titles were shipped to depository libraries. Of those, only 38 titles were not available in sufficient numbers for distribution to all libraries. This is a vast improvement over the fiscal year 1993-94, when only 471 titles were shipped.


When the Library of Michigan receives a document for distribution it retains the first few copies for its collections. Then copies are distributed to libraries in priority order. Copies go to:

  1. the Library of Michigan;
  2. the Library of Congress;
  3. permanent repositories (Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Detroit Public Library);
  4. other Michigan libraries and library agencies, including public, academic, and library cooperatives;
  5. out of state libraries and one overseas library.
In addition to the packages of documents that are mailed, depository libraries should also be receiving the quarterly catalog Michigan Documents. By law this catalog is to be issued quarterly with an annual cumulation, but recently the publication has not been issued in a timely manner.


The responsibilities of a depository library are listed in the depository Manual. They are:

  1. Receive, house, and service Michigan documents.
  2. Provide convenient public access to documents.
  3. Implement loan and interlibrary loan procedures to ensure availability of documents.
  4. Promote the examination and use of Mich documents.
A separate collection using the Michigan Documents classification scheme is recommended but not required. Most libraries may weed items after five years, but Detroit Public Library, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University are required to retain documents permanently.

The first three responsibilities listed above are not difficult as long as the packages are opened and the items are placed on the shelves to be treated like other things in the collection. But the fourth responsibility, which is really the heart of the depository program, is more difficult to realize. The depository Manual gives details for the fulfillment of this responsibility.

Depository libraries are expected to promote the use of state documents by using them to respond to reference queries and issuing reading lists of important documents in high interest areas. Efforts should be made to increase the visibility of the depository materials by including them in publications and announcements which promote the depository library and it's other resources.


One reason it is not easy to live up to this responsibility is the difficulty in locating information in State documents. How do you identify documents that are useful for answering questions and/or should be promoted? Of the two best sources, one lacks good historical coverage and the other is inconvenient to use.

Michigan Documents is the most complete source available, but it is not convenient to use. Over the years the publication has sometimes been issued in paper, sometimes in fiche. Multiple year cumulations are available only in microfiche. As noted above, in recent years the publication has not been timely.

Much easier to use is Answer, the Library of Michigan's online catalog. If your are looking for documents issued since 1990 you should be able to find them in Answer. If you are in search of earlier documents, Answer is very incomplete. Only since 1993 has the Library of Michigan been adding full cataloging for new documents to Answer (and OCLC). Retrospective cataloging has been done for the Departments of State, Education, Transportation and its predecessor the Highway Department, Natural Resources and its predecessor the Conservation Department, the Planning Commission, Governors Milliken, Blanchard and Engler, and the Library of Michigan. Retrospective cataloging for the Department of Management and Budget, formerly Administration, is in progress. In an effort to provide some access to items that do not yet have full records the Library of Michigan has created "provisional" records (title, issuing agency and call number) for many documents, but not all.


This has been a very brief overview of the Michigan Documents Depository Program. If you are interested in learning more about the history or operation of the program consult the sources used in researching this article, or the Library of Michigan staff members who administer the program.

Major sources:

  • Manual for Michigan State Documents Depository Libraries. Lansing, MI: Library of Michigan, 1994. Available online at

  • Lucas, Richard. "The Michigan Documents Program." Michigan in Books, v.13, no. 1 (Winter 1975), p.5-8.

  • Cross, Jenny. "State Documents to the People." Michigan in Books, v.13, no. 1 (Winter 1975), p.1-4.

    Additional information came from:

  • Larsen, John C. Study in Service: The Historical Development of the Michigan State Library and its Territorial Predecessor, the Legislative Council Library, 1828-1941. Thesis, University of Michigan, 1967.

  • GOVDOC-M listserve [Online].

  • Library of Michigan staff: Ann Marie Sanders, Depository Librarian, and Bernadette Bartlett, Michigan Documents Outreach Coordinator, E-mail:; Mailing address: P.O. Box 30007, Lansing, MI 48909.

    Source: Judith Dow, Agricultural Economics Librarian, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI 48824-1039; E-mail:; telephone: (517) 355-6650.

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    (2) Michigan Council of Federal Depository Libraries Meeting Scheduled

    The next meeting of the Michigan Council of Federal Depository Libraries will be September 19, 1997, at the Library of Michigan, at 9:30 a.m. The agenda will cover substantial revisions of our State Plan, especially the ability to provide service in the electronic environment. It will also include the electronic management of disposal procedures.

    Members of Council are Anne Birkam (Saginaw), Ann Marie Sanders (Library of Michigan), Paula Kaczmarek (Detroit Public Library), Janet Schneider (Schoolcraft College), Michael McDonnell (Western Michigan University), and Darlene Pierce (Northern Michigan University). If you'd like to suggest issues for the Council to address, please contact any of us.

    This meeting is open to any one with an interest in the depository library structure in Michigan; an interest in the State Plan; an interest in Regional services to selectives; an interest in communication among depositories; an interest in other pertinent topics relating to the Federal Depository Library Program. It will be a working meeting of the Council.

    If you plan to attend the Septemer 19 meeting of the Council, please contact the Library of Michigan -- -- so that a larger room can be reserved if need be.

    Also, should you want a copy of the agenda once it is finalized, contact Ann Marie Sanders -- -- after September 8.

    Source: Paula Kaczmarek, Manager, Government Documents, Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit MI 48202; E-mail:;Telephone: (313) 833-1025; Fax: (313) 833-0156.

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    (3) Council on Federal Depository Libraries Biennial Meeting Minutes
    April 30, 1997


    Paula Kaczmarek introduced Dr. Jose-Marie Griffiths, member of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science(NCLIS). Griffiths talked about information policy issues for the 21st century and the agenda of NCLIS. According to Griffiths, there is a new wave of recognition of the importance of library and information services in Washington. Recently, there was even a positive budget hearing in Congress.

    The Library Services and Technology Act, which revises the Library Services and Construction Act(LSCA), has the following purposes:

    Important policy initiatives currently in the works include: Changes by Congress to Title 44 include: No major legislation regarding intellectual property rights (copyright) has been introduced to Congress at this time. The tough issues regarding copyright in the electronic environment have not yet been resolved. Possible legislation involves the Patent and Trademark Office becoming a Government Corporation and moving the Copyright Office into it. NCLIS considers balancing the issues of fair use and property rights extremely important.

    A study has been conducted on the advice the Federal Communications Commission regarding telecommunications and universal service. Highlights include:

    Related to these issues, Bill Gates recently spoke at Detroit Public Library regarding low earth orbit satellites, a inexpensive and fast communication method, useful for rural areas and developing countries. This would mean 100% connection for libraries in the United States.

    Issues for further discussion include: such factors as the disparity of geography and size of population regarding connectivity; public service issues; and the life cycle of Internet development. NCLIS will sponsor another survey.

    The Internet is becoming increasingly commercialized, with the possibility of education applications being squeezed out. It is becoming a transaction based venue as opposed to an information based venue. A possible problem is the development of a two tiered system: those who can afford and those who cannot afford.

    ALA was one of many organizations opposed to the Communications Decency Act which was passed by Congress. There is hope that freedom of speech will be upheld by the Supreme Court so that freedom of speech is the same in the electronic environment as it is anywhere else.

    Dr. Griffiths also talked about the next generation of the Internet, or Internet 2. NCLIS is concerned about human resources and the public's need for training. Librarians, information professionals, and teachers all need to be trained to teach the public. A proposal for the next generation of technology includes a proposal to form high speed by-passes to the existing Internet for educational purposes; to place band widths at educational institutions. A connection between Michigan and Chicago institutions will be up by fall. Chicago will then connect to other institutions. Many corporations and the National Science Foundation are putting money into this effort. Important question: who will be able to use this high speed bypass? Internet 2 needs to be monitored closely.

    Issues of concern include:

    An organizational policy issue is security. Can we protect personal information in this environment? Who owns this information (copyright and fair use.)? Is there any quality control? Who archives electronic records? What about issues of liability and accountability? How should piracy be handled? Training for system administrators in regards to security and backup and disaster recovery is essential.

    At the University of Michigan they are trying to make policy issues interesting. For example, they conducted a password campaign in regards to the 9000 vulnerable passwords at the University by comparing them to underwear, something we don't usually talk about. Examples include:

    They used these slogans with cartoons -- a public relations, not an enforcement approach.

    The following questions were posed to Dr. Griffiths from the audience:


    Eric Peterson, Staff Director of the Joint Committee on Printing gave the keynote address. Legislation regarding the revision of Title 44 is on the fast track in Congress. There is hope that a bill will be signed by late August. This legislation will include sweeping changes of Title 44. The Government Printing Office would become an independent agency headed by a Public Printer, appointed by the president. He could not be removed from his office by the president before his term as Public Printer is over. The GPO would be exempt from the Office of Management and Budget oversight, and the Superintendent of Documents would have the power to promulgate regulations. The transition to an electronic environment will definitely take 7 years. The legislation would not allow entrepreneurial efforts at taxpayer expense. Council endorses the bill, but would like to include some of the Government Printing Office's language.

    Wayne Kelly talked about the privatization issue. He believes this bill is not a perfect bill, but the best bill at this point. The government must serve the public, not business needs, although it can operate efficiently.

    Gil Baldwin provided a handout on the core documents of democracy in the electronic environment. He also provided a handout on draft specifications for work stations. They will probably be dropping the words recommended minimum from these specifications. GPO is undergoing physical renovation; there will be some new email addresses in the future.

    Robin Haun-Mohammed talked about a host of things, including items on the Federal Bulletin Board:,shipping list labels, and Itemlister.

    Libraries should now have temporary passwords for Censtat. Depositories will be notified by fax about permanent passwords. Censtat will allow multiple users in one building.

    The advantages and disadvantages of frame technology for disabled users was discussed. Although Council supports it, the Library of Michigan will be responding to Council not in support of it because of the experience they have had with it in the services to the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

    The daily Treasury statements will no longer be published in paper copy at the end of 1997; they will be available on GPO Access instead.

    There are 14 FBIS CDs out ( 1-12 are not available). Libraries must ensure that people do not print or download from these CDs. There are no resolutions on this issue yet. Brown University has a complete microfiche edition (but go to your regionals first).

    STAT-USA has changed passwords.

    The NTDB will only be available in Windows from now on.

    The Food Code for 1997 will be coming in June.

    Background Notes will be less frequent in paper copy.

    Dispatch for 1997 is going to press.

    The green postcards for selection updates will no longer be accepted as of June 1st for libraries with web access. Changes must be made on the web site only. Passwords for libraries to do this will be coming this spring.

    GPO is cataloging URLs; there are 1700 in the Monthly Catalog at this time. The Sales Unit of GPO plans to provide online ordering of documents in September of 1997. They hope to process orders within 24 hours.

    Paula Kaczmarek went to the session for new documents librarians. Sheila McGarr mentioned that no one is required to use GPO cataloging and there is a procedure for making up new sudocs numbers. Good quote from Sheila: "mark it and park it". Librarians can now download software to print sudocs labels. Sally Arrivee is going to look at this program and let Michigan Documents Librarians know how it works. Depository librarians can claim any document they have not received, as long as they select that item number. Important! If you receive a wrong box, send it to the right library and let GPO know about it.

    Ann Sanders attended a session on to be or not to be a depository library. Important point: if you were considering dropping status because of electronics, think of it as motivation to get the equipment you need to meet the standards. This electronic environment provides librarians with computer skills that can be used for other acitivities. Ann heard no compelling arguments for dropping status.

    Federal Agency Updates: People from the Commerce Department may be available to do a workshop regarding Censtat and STAT-USA in future years(not 1997). SBA people talked about SIC Versus NAIC- there is the possibility of a workshop for Michigan librarians on this.

    Self Study: GPO will be doing inspections under certain circumstances: when libraries submit unsatisfactory self studies or do not submit one, when there are major staff changes, for new depositories, when there is little technology in the library, when they receive complaints, or if a library has been on probationary status. GPOs response to the self studies will let the library know if it will be inspected or not. The self study takes about 40 hours to do. Ann advised that once you have completed it, to keep it up to date. Start working on it early! GPO gives a lead time of 5-8 weeks. The self study will be done by libraries every 6-7 years.

    Paula mentioned that the NCJRS does not publish microfiche anymore. 95% of what they publish is on their web site. Everything is abstracted on their CD and they are working to provide more complete text on the CD.

    Ann Sanders spoke at one session about MEL. She mentioned that Saundra Williams of the University of Memphis praised Grace York's page as something that has everything.

    The session on bibliographic control consisted of three catalogers talking about what they do in their libraries.

    The final speakers on the last morning included someone from the Library of Congress who talked about preservation and someone from NARA who talked about the difference between archiving records which they do as opposed to books. Ann taped this session so when her notes are transcribed she will provide documents librarians with this information.

    Grace York mentioned that GPO is pushing cooperative projects for librarians to put up agency materials. She mentioned how expensive it is for libraries to do this.


    GPO is hosting a planning meeting for regional libraries(and paying for one person from each regional to go) in Minneapolis in August. Regionals teaching regionals best practice is the topic. Agenda items include state plans (Michigans plan is held as a model) and training and orientation programs (Ann and Paula will participate in this). Paula and Ann have set up dates for interested librarians in Michigan for May 15, June 13, and July 8 for orientation sessions. Support staff are welcome to come. Ann suggested having a training day on the self study and would like feedback on this. Diane Vander Pol suggested we have training sessions on how to use the government CDs. If such a workshop is held, we should find out ahead of time from librarians which CDs to provide training on. Another training suggestion is government Internet sites and how to use them.

    Diane Vander Pol mentioned that it is a real challenge to keep track of format changes. Ann said that the University of Memphis migrating web page is the best source of information on this. You can get to it from MEL or Grace's page.

    Grace York mentioned that you can now search Administration Notes back to 1995 by title.

    Ann's fax number is (517) 373-9438. The best email address to use is to get a speedy response.


    Suggestions for changes include putting discard lists in single column format and taking the name of the agency off the sample discard list. Librarians were encouraged to look at the appendix closely and notify the Michigan Council for Depository Libraries of any other changes.

    Submitted by Anne Birkam, Hoyt Public Library, 505 Janes, Saginaw, MI 48607; phone: (517) 755-0904, ext.848; fax (517) 755-9829; e-mail:

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    (4) Statewide Periodicals Database Set for July

    Libraries across Michigan will soon gain online access to the full text of more than 1,000 magazines and periodicals, plus newspapers, indexes and more.

    The Library of Michigan has announced the successful bidders for a statewide periodicals database. Pending the successful completion of negotiations, OCLC's First Search and Information Access Company's General Reference Center Gold will become available to Michigan's libraries in two stages on July 1 and September 1.

    "This combination of products will provide over 1,000 periodical titles in full text," said George Needham, State Librarian of Michigan. "There will also be many newspapers, an almanac, an encyclopedia and dozens of indexes, all available online, updated regularly and without charge to the individual library. There will be a whole new wealth of information readily available for users of public, school, academic and special libraries."

    The Michigan Library Consortium (MLC) will administer the database system. MLC is a nonprofit corporation formed to facilitate sharing information sources among Michigan libraries and to enhance the availability of information resources to Michigan residents. MLC will coordinate training for individual libraries, beginning in the summer and continuing throughout the project.

    "We at MLC are thrilled to be a partner with the Library of Michigan for this exciting statewide venture," said Randy Dykhuis, Executive Director for MLC. "By providing the entire state access to these databases and full-text articles, the Library of Michigan is equalizing information access to all Michigan residents. A resident in a low-income community anywhere in the state will have the same access to information as someone in an affluent region. This project is a first step toward 'leveling the playing field' for the information-poor areas of our state."

    For a one year trial period, Michigan State University Libraries will support this initiative by offering free copies of articles that are not held locally and cannot be obtained through local borrowing arrangements. Through this offer to any Michigan library that in turn eliminates charges for article copies to MSU Libraries, the University hopes to encourage statewide cooperation among all library types."

    The Library of Michigan has used LSCA funds to underwrite the creation of a statewide union list of serials. "The OCLC and IAC databases will allow a user to find a relevant article, and generally, the full text of the article will be available online," Needham explained. "If not, the union list will identify libraries which own the appropriate title. And if all other sources fail, MSU will provide the article via interlibrary loan, for a level of service we've never had in Michigan."

    The statewide union list and the periodicals database project are part of 'Access Michigan,' an initiative to improve library services by encouraging all types of libraries to work together efficiently.

    This initial purchase of databases is being underwritten through the federal Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA), and is contingent upon Congress passing funding for the new Library Services and Technology Act.

    Source : George Needham, Director, Library of Michigan, 717 West Allegan Street , Lansing, Michigan 48909; E-mail:; Telephone: (517) 373-5504; Fax: (517) 373-4480; Press Release, May 28, 1997.

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    (5) SPAN

    A new Michigan web database has gone online, listing more than 201,000 magazines, journals, and newspapers and the hundreds of local library locations statewide where they can be found.

    Called SPAN, for Serials, Periodicals and Newspapers, this huge collaborative project will include magazines, annual publications, newspapers and journals found in Michigan libraries.

    "SPAN will make it much easier for patrons to find and borrow periodicals, which are items published on a regular basis," said state librarian George Needham. "For the first time library users in any connected library will be able to see the titles of periodicals available at other Michigan libraries."

    A CD-ROM product will be produced on an interim basis for libraries without Internet access. This will also make long distance phone charges unnecessary in areas where free line access to the Internet is not available.

    Technical expertise and networking for the SPAN project has been provided by the Michigan Library Consortium, a nonprofit membership-driven library organization with over 550 member libraries in Michigan. Library Services and Construction Act funds, administered by the Library of Michigan, make the project possible. Searching the SPAN database is free.

    During the project's July through September rollout phase, Michigan residents can use their local library (public, academic, special, school) to gain access to SPAN. Beginning in September Michigan residents will also be able to search the database and request materials from their home computers.

    The SPAN project is one of many recent projects resulting from Michigan libraries working together. Other projects include MEL (the Michigan Electronic Library), a statewide database access project and the Michigan Newspaper Project.

    For more information, contact John Rummel, Public Information Officer, Library of Michigan, P.O. Box 30007, 717 West Allegan Street, Lansing, MI 48909; e-mail:; tel: (51) 373-5578; fax: 517-373-5700.

    Source: John Rummel, Michlib-L, July 16, 1997.

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    (6) Depository Library Staff Orientation Scheduled

    There will be another orientation this year for the staff of depository libraries on Tuesday, November 18, 1997, at the Detroit Public Library. The orientation will start at 9:00 a.m. and last all day. Lunch will be on your own; the orientation will probably end about 3:30 so attendees can beat the afternoon rush hour. When you register let us know if you need maps, directions, etc. A limited number of parking spaces can be reserved, but if you can park elsewhere on your own, please do so. Street parking is metered.

    Orientations are called for in the "Michigan Plan for the Federal Documents Library System" and are essential for new Documents Librarians. They are of importance, as well, to other staff in depository libraries, and have also been heavily attended by support staff, reference librarians, and some administrators. There is no registration fee.

    For more information, contact Paula Kaczmarek or, Barbara Filimon, who is the Senior Clerk in this office, to register.

    Source: Paula Kaczmarek, Manager, Government Documents, Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit MI 48202; e-mail:; telephone: (313) 833-1025; fax: (313) 833-0156. September 10, 1997.

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    (7) Public and Local Acts

    Some of you may be receiving promotional literature from the Conway Greene Publishing Company regarding their taking over Public and Local Acts, formerly published by the Legislative Service Bureau.

    Don't worry; depository libraries and members of the Legislature will continue to receive a free copy of Public and Local Acts. Everyone else, however, will need to establish a subscription with the new company. The initial volume for the 1996 session will cost either $90 for a hardbound volume, or $80 for a softbound volume, plus a $5.50 shipping fee for the first volume, plus $1 for each additional volume.

    For more information, contact the Conway Greene Publishing Company, 1414 South Green St., Suite #206, South Euclid, OH 44121; telephone: (216) 691-3870 or (800) 977-2665; fax: (216) 691-3883.

    If this arrangement between Conway Greene and the state works out, the Legislative Service Bureau may seek similar bids for the Michigan Administrative Code and a new compilation of MCL (Michigan Compiled Laws).

    Source: Kim Ranger, Grand Valley State University, and Ann Sanders, Library of Michigan, June 24, 1997.

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