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Federal Handbook
Table of Contents I. Introduction
II. Reference/ReferralIII. Resources/Collections
IV. Federal Depository Library ProgramV. Contracting Out and Outsourcing
VIII. Resources


The chairperson of the Federal Library and Information Center (FLICC) Education Working Group created a Task Force to develop a handbook for federal librarians. Members of the Handbook of Federal Librarianship Task Force are primarily a group of federal librarians and federal employees who either work in federal libraries or other information offices in their agencies.

The Task Force was charged with developing a handbook that would serve both as a resource tool for librarians new to the federal community and a quick reference guide for established federal librarians. First we had to determine what issues and topics relevant to federal librarianship should be singled out for inclusion in the handbook. We posted an appeal on the federal librarians' listserv and we asked library directors and managers at a FLICC meeting. The number of responses was significant and the recurring topics that were suggested helped us to focus on those areas important to federal librarians. For instance, "withdrawal and disposition of materials" was the most frequently suggested topic for guidance.

The Handbook of Federal Librarianship is written for professional librarians and is therefore not intended as a manual to instruct you on how to be a librarian. Instead it focuses on the federal angle of otherwise standard practices and procedures of good librarianship. A topic was omitted if it was determined not to have anything uniquely federal about it. An exception was made for the chapter on "copyright" because it remains a challenging and continuously developing topic for all librarians. We opted to produce this handbook in electronic format as a Web document that can be updated as often as new developments or issues emerge. Thus, this first edition will probably not resemble future editions as topics evolve and issues deemed important to federal librarians change.

We have made a concerted effort not to reinvent the wheel by duplicating what is already available elsewhere. Our perusal of those already available resources revealed an extensive collection. Therefore, this handbook provides only brief treatment of the main points of a topic with many hypertext links to web sites for detail coverage and references to print publications you can consult for the full-text. An additional comprehensive listing with even more hypertext links and complete bibliographic citations to print publications is provided in the Resources Chapter at the end of the handbook.

If you would like to suggest additions or changes to this handbook, please email to [email protected].


First we want to acknowledge all the librarians who responded to our appeal on the FEDLIB Listserv expressing their interest in the handbook. This encouraged us to move forward with the project. Some of you could not devote the time required to be a full-fledged member of the task force but we thank you for your suggestions, recommendations, and referrals.

A special thank you is extended to Patricia P. Ays for providing references to information about military libraries and sources for deciphering military acronyms. We owe Bonnie Klein of the Defense Technical Information Center for pointing us to defense-related information and many references to “free and practically-free” Web resources. For lending their expert assistance with the chapter about “withdrawal and disposition of materials,” our gratitude is extended to Sheila M. McGarr, Chief of Depository Services at the Government Printing Office; Kathryn L. Earnest, Director of the Pentagon Library; and Andrea Battel, U.S. Court Library in Newark, New Jersey.

We also wish to acknowledge colleagues, staff, friends, and everyone who reviewed, edited, keyed, and proofed parts of the handbook. In particular, we thank Frances Doyle for her editing, Shanta R. Gray and Rene Rangel for their word processing skills, and Mitchell Harrison for his design and Web expertise.

Federal Library and Information Center Committee
Education Working Group
Sandy Morton Schwalb


Denise W. Lomax, Chair
Federal Bureau of Prisons Library
Washington, DC

Alexandra E. Campbell
TRADOC Library Office
Fort Monroe, VA
Don Fork
U.S. Department of
Washington, DC
Kay Collins
U.S. Railroad Retirement Board
Chicago, IL
Robin Hatziyannis
Library of Congress
Washington, DC
Amy B. DeGroff
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC
Richard Huffine
Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC
John D. Moore
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Washington, DC
David Pachter
Library of Congress
Washington, DC
Kenneth E. Nero
National Labor Relations Board
Washington, DC
Sandy Schwalb
Library Programs Service
Government Printing Office
Washington, DC
Jan Oberla
Main Justice Library
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, DC
Cathy M. Clark-Wright
Library, Albany Research Center
U.S. Department of Energy
Albany, OR
Denise Diggin
U.S. Department of Energy
Washington, DC
Frances Doyle
Technical Library
Fort Monroe, VA


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last update 12/30/99