Depository libraries - United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Library
United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library

2012 Survey of UN Depository Libraries


The Mission of the UN Depository Libraries Programme is to inform the world’s public about the work and the activities of the United Nations through a system of UN depository libraries. These libraries are independent of the UN but provide comprehensive information based on first-rate collections of UN information resources. As of December 2012, there were 364 depository libraries.

The 2012 Biennial Survey of United Nations Depository Libraries was sent to 364 depository libraries. Completion of the biennial survey is a requirement for participating libraries. The survey was launched 10 September 2012 and closed 11 January 2013. Data collection included web-based, e-mail and fax methods.

The United Nations continues to expand online access to its information resources and has reduced print runs. It is expected that, ultimately, hard-copy distribution of documents will cease. The destruction by Hurricane Sandy of print shop and distribution facilities in New York may have accelerated this process.

In support of the UN’s policy of a reduction in print costs, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library has strongly encouraged depository libraries to move to electronic access instead of print.

A major focus of the 2012 survey was to determine how this change from print to digital would impact the UN Depository Libraries Programme in developed and developing countries. While promoting a move to online access, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library must also seek to take into account the varying degrees of connectivity, especially in developing and least-developed countries.

An important aspect of the United Nations depository programme is the role that our partner libraries play in outreach and promotion of the use of their UN collections. Therefore the survey also sought information about activities undertaken by depository libraries to publicize their UN information resources and training to upgrade skills in accessing UN information resources.

By the close of the survey 334 of 364 depository libraries had responded, a 92% response rate. The low response rates in several regions of the world can largely be attributed to political conflicts. The Depository Library Coordination team thanks all depository libraries for their thoughtful responses.

United Nations Depository Libraries are comprised of different types of libraries such as: university, parliamentary, national, public and research institutions.

Key Findings

I. Based on responses received in the survey, 99% have Internet access. Most regions of the world have good internet access. Some areas in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific experience connectivity problems.

II. 64% of libraries provided information on outreach activities they undertook such as publicizing their UN information resources and promoting interest on issues of importance to the United Nations. Examples of such activities include briefings, exhibits, seminars, web postings of UN information, training on UN information resources and publishing of brochures, user guides and handouts.

III. 86% of the respondents indicated that they would appreciate additional training in accessing and using UN information resources. Library professionals with expertise in UN materials present one of the most valuable assets in the current UN Depository Libraries Programme.

To encourage further communications among the UN Depository Libraries we have a Facebook page. We welcome your comments.

To browse results of the survey, please use the table of contents below:

I. Confirmation of compliance with the conditions of deposit
Note: Responses collected in section I of the survey (Questions 1-3) are for internal use only and are not published in these results.
VIII. Please provide the current SHIPPING ADDRESS
Note: Responses collected in section VIII of the survey (Question 37) are for internal use only and are not published in these results.

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