What are the conditions for requesting UN depository status and what obligations do depository libraries have?
Last Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Authority to designate United Nations depository libraries:
The United Nations Publications Board, on the advice of the Chief Librarian of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library and taking into account the views of the government concerned, has the authority to designate UN depository libraries.
Types of libraries that can be designated as a United Nations depository:
All States and Non-self-governing Territories are entitled to one free depository library, normally the national library or a major research library located in the capital city.
The national parliamentary library, if open to the public, is also entitled to receive material free of charge.
Additional depository libraries, which are required to pay an annual contribution, may be designated after taking into consideration the expected use to be made of the deposit and the over-all geographical distribution of depository libraries in the country concerned.
Conditions of deposit for a United Nations depository library:
All United Nations depository libraries are required to:
• Place the depository materials received in the care of qualified library staff;
• Keep the depository materials received in good order at their institutions;
• Make the depository materials received accessible to the general public, free of charge, at reasonable hours;
• Make the depository materials received available through interlibrary loan, photocopying or other means to users who cannot easily visit the depositories concerned;
• Pay the annual contribution, if applicable;
• To the extent possible, depository librarians are encouraged to provide access to online resources and research tools for UN materials and information, and to provide support to researchers in the use of those tools and resources.
In addition, each depository library is requested to organize activities on a regular basis to publicize its United Nations collection.
The United Nations inquires into the observance of the conditions of deposit by occasional surveys and by onsite visits.
The Publications Board reserves the right, when evidence is presented that the conditions of deposit are not met in a satisfactory manner, to withdraw depository status.
Annual contribution paid by United Nations Depository Libraries (when applicable):
The Depository Library Programme fee structure was adjusted in July 2013, after the distribution of paper copies of UN documents and publications was stopped at United Nations Headquarters in New York. Other UN duty stations, including the UN Office in Geneva, the UN Office in Vienna, the UN Office in Nairobi, and the 5 regional commissions, continue to disseminate selected UN material to UN depository libraries, either in print or in digital format.
In light of the above, the annual contribution was cut significantly, and new fees were set in 2013 at the following levels:
- Depositories located in developing countries who are still receiving materials from the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions: US$ 125 per year
- Depositories located in developed countries who are still receiving materials from the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions: US$ 500 per year
Libraries located in areas of the world not served by one of the UN Regional Commissions will not be billed for the annual contribution fee, since they are no longer receiving hard copies of UN documents and publications, but retain their UN depository status.
Note: All UN Member States and Non-self-governing Territories are entitled to one free depository library, normally the national library or a major research library located in the capital city. Those libraries are not required to pay an annual contribution. Additionally, a national parliamentary library, if it is open and freely available to the public, is also entitled to receive UN depository material free of charge.
Payment options for the annual depository contribution fee:
All invoicing for the UN depository libraries annual depository contributions is handled by the UN Publications section in New York. Invoices are usually sent at the beginning of every year.
Current payment options are the following:
1) Payment by credit card. You will be required to provide the account name on the card, the billing address, credit card number, expiration date and security code. Please contact the United Nations Publications section by email at Publications@un.org for further instructions on how you can use this payment method securely.
2) Bank transfer. Please remit all electronic fund transfers to the bank account number listed below. Upon making the transfer, you must notify UN Publications section by email at Publications@un.org of the date of the transfer and the name of the bank used for the transaction.
JPMorgan Chase Bank
4 New York Plaza, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10004 USA
SWIFT number: CHASUS33
ABA domestic routing number: 021000021
Account Name: United Nations Revenue Producing Activities
Account No: 485000377
Please note that the purpose of payment, including the name of the depository library, should be included in the remittance reference. Bank transfer charges should be paid separately by the remitter to their bank and should not be deducted from the remittance.
Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.