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Federal Depository Libraries

Your Source for Yesterday’s, Today’s, and Tomorrow’s Government Information

Distribution of government information to libraries is one of the nation’s oldest traditions, first established by statute in 1813. Beginning in 1858, Members of Congress were authorized to designate individual libraries to receive government publications, and the Federal Depository Library Program was created. Since 1895, the FDLP has been administered by the Government Printing Office. Today, approximately 1,400 Depository Libraries serve the American public by providing local, no-fee access to Federal government information. Depository Libraries are located in all 50 states, virtually every Congressional District, six territories, and the District of Columbia. Each day people with diverse informational needs utilize depository collections housed in all types of libraries: public, academic, state, law, and federal agency.

Depository Libraries Impact Their Local Communities Daily!

Depository Libraries provide government information that supports:

  • Public policy development and decision-making.
  • Citizens in fulfilling their civic responsibilities.
  • Business and economic development.
  • Local community concerns such as health, safety, security and the environment.
  • Education and historical research.

Local Depository Libraries Work In Partnership with the Federal Government to Carry Out the Mission of the Federal Depository Library Program

  • Access to government information is the foundation of the public’s “Right to Know”. Depository Libraries are uniquely situated in each Congressional District and dedicated to providing open access to public information.
  • Depository Libraries obtain government information in a variety of formats: paper, microfiche, diskette, CD-ROM, and online.
  • Depository Librarians select the publications and services that best meet the Federal government information needs of their local communities.
  • Professional staff at Depository Libraries organized and provide access to depository collections, assist the public in navigating the Federal information infrastructure, and serve as the local link to public information.
  • Depository Libraries play an integral role in preserving Federal government publications for future generations and maintaining archival collections that reflect the history of the United States.
  • The Federal Depository Library Program guarantees that the people of the U.S. Have access to their government’s information.

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