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Criteria for Colorado State Publications Depository Libraries

Revised April 2024

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The Colorado State Publications Library and its depositories provide free permanent public access to state government documents.

The legal basis for the Colorado State Publications Depository and Distribution Center Program is C.R.S. 24-90-201/208 and 1 CCR 301-28 which defines the requirements for a local library to be designated as a “Colorado State Publications Depository Library”.

The law, regulations, and criteria describe the requirements for designation, operation and termination of Depositories. The Colorado State Library in the Department of Education, through the Colorado State Publications Depository and Distribution Center Program, administers these requirements and monitors compliance with them. Formal administrative rules are available on the COSPL web site.

In cases where existing Depositories may not comply with some of the criteria, a reasonable phase-in time may be negotiated.

In this document, the Colorado State Publications Depository and Distribution Center Program is referred to as the “Colorado State Publications Library” or COSPL. Individual Depository Libraries are referred to as “Depositories”, and their parent organization or administration are referred to as the “local library”.


Types of State Publications Depository Libraries

Your library may be designated as either a regular or virtual depository.

1.  Regular depositories provide access to Colorado state documents either through physical copy or digital copy via their local catalog. They follow all of the criteria set forth in this document.

2.  Virtual depositories provide access to Colorado state documents electronically. They provide this access by downloading COSPL’s catalog records into the local catalog and providing public service, staffing, equipment, and statistics as outlined in the aforementioned sections.


Public Service

1. The Depository shall provide unrestricted public access for any person to

Colorado state publications, which shall be accessible by end-users on open shelves and in unlocked microfiche cabinets (if applicable), along with online access to digital publications, and links to COSPL and state information web sites, during the same hours as the library is open. No limitations as to eligibility shall be imposed on potential users.

2. Reference assistance with state publications and online state government information shall be provided at the same level and during the same hours as it is provided to the rest of the local library’s general use collections. Reference services shall include, but not be limited to:

a. Help with finding resources in state publications including specific titles.

b. Help with finding state information via COSPL’s home page and the State of Colorado home page.

c. Answers to reference questions or referral to other resources including COSPL in Denver via phone, fax, or email.

d. Guidance on how to locate and use state publications, including instruction as needed in the use of COSPL’s catalog, Prospector, and the state government website.

e. Assistance in borrowing state publications from a local Depository or COSPL in Denver.

3. State government documents shall be maintained to respond to the needs of the residents in that local library’s geographic area. This includes collecting all publications distributed to depository libraries by COSPL and retaining them for at least five years.

 It also may include claiming publications from state agencies in cooperation with COSPL when that is the most efficient way to respond to user needs. If a publication is not listed in the COSPL online catalog and is not in process at COSPL, and a depository library claims the publication directly from the state agency, then the depository library must forward a photocopy of the title page of the publication to COSPL for general claiming, or send a link to

4. The Depository shall make an ongoing commitment of the time and effort needed to publicize and provide depository library service to the community, i.e. librarians, businesses, organizations, government, institutions, and the general public.

5. Dependable and readily-available internet access shall be provided to COSPL’s online catalog for reference, cataloging, and/or processing uses by both local library staff and users.

6. Interlibrary loan services shall be available to registered borrowers, to request publications from COSPL in Denver when they are not available locally in a Depository.

7. Courier delivery shall be utilized wherever available, or through an equivalent mechanism, for rapid retrieval and delivery of state publications to local users.

8. To satisfy user requests, photocopies, fax or email information may be provided in lieu of an actual publication, if necessary, in accordance with the local library’s interlibrary loan agreements.

9. The local library will participate in the Colorado Libraries Collaborate program.



1. A trained librarian shall be designated by the local library as the State Publications Depository Librarian, to coordinate the Depository functions, to interpret the Program to the library’s administrators, and to serve as the local library’s liaison with COSPL staff.

2. Staffing shall be provided by the Depository at a level sufficient to organize, provide user access, provide reference service, and promote the collection. It is recommended that approximately one hour of a librarian’s time and two hours of support staff per week be allocated to support the Depository.

3. The State Publications Depository Librarian, and support staff as needed, will be oriented on the basic functions of the Depository and the overall State Publications Program.

4. The Depository Librarian shall attend periodic Depository Library meetings and update sessions planned to maintain current information about the Program, its services and products.

5. The Depository Librarian shall respond promptly to surveys and other requests from the State Publications Library and shall keep support staff and other local library staff informed.

6. The Depository Librarian, and the support staff as appropriate, is expected to keep up-to-date on new developments affecting state publications depository operations, by reading the periodic “Information Memo” emails and the other relevant materials from COSPL, attending periodic Depository Library meetings, and participating in appropriate listservs and professional groups.



The State Publications Library collects usage statistics from depository libraries to demonstrate that the depository program is fulfilling the mission to provide access to Colorado government information throughout the state. The Depository Librarian shall collect statistics as requested by the State Publications Library and shall keep support staff and other local library staff informed.


Space and Retention Requirements

1. Space for Depository operations shall be of the same quality as other areas of the local library. It should be attractive, comfortable, and have acceptable levels of lighting, temperature, ventilation, and noise control. It should be functional and flexible, conform to standards for access by physically disabled persons, and provide for in-library use at tables and/or carrels.

2. Paper copies of agency publications will be retained for 5 years or until superseded, at the depository’s discretion. Space requirements will be reduced as more digital, rather than paper, publications are published. Legislative materials, i.e. Bills, Acts, Calendars, etc, may be withdrawn after one year, at the library’s discretion.

3. An optional, but highly recommended, addition to a Depository collection is the purchase of a subscription to the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) in paperback edition. Otherwise, access to the online version of the CRS is necessary. Access should also be made available to the Code of Colorado Regulations (CCR) on the Secretary of State’s website.

4. Depository items that have been identified for withdrawl should be sent en mass to the State Publications Library (Courier code: C984). The items will be checked against the COSPL collection and then offered to interested libraries. Libraries participating in the process will periodically receive boxes of Colorado discards. The depository librarian will evaluate the contents and add items to their collection in accordance with the library’s collection development policy. Once the evaluation process is complete the box will be forwarded to the next library on the list. The last library to receive the box will recycle all unwanted items. Depository libraries interested in receiving boxes of discards for review should contact COSPL staff.


Classification and Processing

1.  MARC records for items cataloged each month by the State Publications Library are available via OCLC or by electronic files posted monthly to the COSPL’s website.

2. Depository Libraries may integrate state publications into the library’s main collection utilizing their preferred classification scheme (e.g. Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress).

If a separate collection of state publications is maintained, the publications shall be shelved using one of the following: the Colorado State Publications Classification Schedule, Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress. The collection shall also be located conveniently to encourage use of the materials, and the Depository Library shall provide a clear explanation of the classification system and how to find publications on the shelves. The updated Colorado State Publications Classification Schedule is provided annually to Depository libraries.

3. A processing area shall be available to Depository staff in proportion to the volume of material being received, in order to efficiently and expeditiously process new titles. Processing shall include the addition of binders, pamphlet boxes, covers, etc. as appropriate to protect fragile or thin materials. The state publications shall be kept in as good physical condition as the other materials in the local library’s collection.



1.  Internet access to COSPL’s online public access catalog and the State of Colorado State Publications Library website shall be available for public use whenever the library is open.

2. If the Depository retains microfiche, a microfiche reader and/or reader-printer, maintained in good working condition, shall be readily available near the microfiche collection, during regular local library hours, for users of state publications on microfiche.

3. If needed, a microfiche cabinet sufficient to store all microfiche publications shall be available for direct and convenient access by users of the Depository.

4. A photocopying facility, either self-service or attended, shall be accessible to users of state publications whenever the library is open.


State Library Responsibilities

In support of these criteria, the Colorado State Library agrees to:

1. Send publications in paper format, or notification of digital publications, according to what is available from state agencies;

2. Catalog all tangible and digital publications, and make catalog records available monthly;

3. Offer training, consultation, and advice to Depository Libraries to develop and maintain their ability to provide access to state government information;

4. Publish informative and interpretive materials to assist Depository Librarians in helping users;

5. Maintain the online catalog database of Colorado State Publications so that Depositories and the public can access the full range of state publications;

6. Provide reference, research and referral services to back-up local libraries;

7. Provide circulation and interlibrary loan services to supplement state publications available in the Depositories; and

8. Keep Depositories informed about state government publications issues and serve as an advocate for them.