The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by Congress to ensure the American public has access to government information. Since 1813, depository libraries have safeguarded the public's right to know by collecting, organizing, maintaining, preserving, and assisting users with information from the federal government. The FDLP provides government information at no cost to designated depository libraries throughout the country and territories. These depository libraries, in turn, provide local, no-fee access to government information in an impartial environment with professional assistance.
San Bernardino County Law Library Named 2008 Federal Depository Library of the Year
The History of the Federal Depository Library Program and the Government Publishing Office
1813: Congress authorizes legislation to ensure that one copy of both the House and Senate Journals and other congressional documents were distributed to select universities, historical societies, and state libraries. Secretary of State was in charge of distribution.
1857: Secretary of the Interior is charged with the task of government printing and the designation of depositories.
1858: Congress provided for each represenatative to designate a depository in his or her district or territory.
1859: Congress provided for each senator to designate a depository in his or her state.
1860: The Government Printing Office (GPO) was established by Congressional Joint Resolution 25 (The Printing Act) on June 23, 1860.
1861: GPO began operations on March 4, 1861 with 350 employees on the same day the President Lincoln was inaugurated.
1876: The Public Printer or the head of the GPO becomes a presidential appointed position. President Grant appoints Almon M. Clapp as the first Public Printer.
1895: The Printing Act 1895 was passed and created the modern day depository program. Authority for the depository program was transferred from the Secretary of the Interior to the Office of the Superintendent of Documents. The Superintendent of Documents is appointed by and reports to the Public Printer. The act stated that “all government publications delivered to designated depositories or other libraries shall be for public use without charge.”
1922: Changes to title 44 allowed depository libraries to become selective depositories or libraries that were not required to received every item published by the United States.
1962: The Depository Library Act of 1962 is passed.The act provided for the distribution of documents not printed by the GPO, thus greatly expanding the volume of publications available to depository libraries. It allowed up to two depositories per congressional district. The act also created a system of regional depository libraries, typically one per state.
1993: The Government Printing Office Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act of 1993 was passed and allowed for the creation of GPO Access which was one of the first government information databases.
2010 - 2012: GPO Access is replaced by FDsys.
2014: The Government Printing Office changes its' name to the Government Publishing Office.