Federal Depository Library Program

Federal Depository Library Program

Federal Depository Library Program

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The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was created to make federal government publications available to the public at no cost. As of June 2008, there are 1,252 depository libraries in the United States and its territories. A “government publication” is defined in the U.S. Code as “informational matter which is published as an individual document at Government expense, or as required by law” (44 U.S.C. 1901).


The groundwork for the FDLP was established by an 1813 Congressional Joint Resolution ordering that certain publications be distributed to libraries outside of the federal government. Initially, the librarian of the Library of Congress was responsible for running this program, but the responsibility shifted to the Secretary of the Interior in the 1850s.

The Printing Act of 1895 revised public printing laws and established the roles of the FDLP and GPO (Government Printing Office) in distributing government information. This act also assigned leadership of the program to the Superintendent of Public Documents, who would be under the control...
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