Vanderbilt University’s Federal Depository Coordinator, Will Stringfellow, has been appointed to a federal task force studying the feasibility of an all-digital Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Going “all-digital” would have significant implications for how government information is gathered and disseminated by libraries across the country. Central Library is one of over 1,250 participating libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The Vanderbilt Library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the library’s government documents collection is guaranteed and governed by Federal law (Title 44, United States Code).
Stringfellow, who calls himself “an accidental government documents professional, like many others around the country,” has worked in government information with the Vanderbilt Libraries for over ten years going back to when the unit was Government Information and Media Services. At that time his role focused on managing reserves and the media collection for Central Library, while occasionally working with government information from a service standpoint. Five years later he began assisting with cataloging and processing new government documents which eventually led to the coordinator position he holds now. When his professional duties shifted to primarily managing Vanderbilt’s Federal Depository Library Collection, he happily embraced the Government Publishing Office’s mission of Keeping America Informed. In 2019, he was appointed to the Depository Library Council (DLC) and now serves as chair. He also serves as the co-chair of the Tennessee Library Association’s Government Documents Roundtable (TNLA GODORT).
“The task force marks a very important moment in time for Federal Depository Libraries,” says Stringfellow. “Public access to U.S. Federal government information is considered so vital to our democracy, the FDLP is written into our Federal Laws. While there are new technologies which allow for easier, free access to information, it is critical to ensure long-term free, public access to government information regardless of format or technologies, especially in the current age of misinformation. I view my professional work as a government documents coordinator as an opportunity to serve both our Vanderbilt community and the broader public. This task force will study a large part of the future of government information and access to it, and being a part of that is exciting, and allows me to continue my service to Vanderbilt, Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, and the country.”
See the Government Publishing Office Press Release.