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Federal Depository Library Program

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 11 months ago

Back to 1810s 1960s



The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) began in 1813 in an effort by Congress to ensure that the American population had access to its government's information. Since its creation, the mission of the FDLP has been to collect, organize and preserve publications of the Federal Government and assist citizens in obtaining and using that information. Currently there are close to 1300 Federal depository libraries in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and six U.S. territories.


1813 marks the joint resolution between the House of Representatives and the Senate that provided for the distribution of congressional material and public journals to universities, colleges, and historical societies in each state. In the 1850s and 1860s, laws were passed that called for the designation of depositories by Representatives and Senators, the additional printing of specific material and for the creation of the Superintendent of Documents.


In 1962 the Depository Library Act was passed. This act increased the number of libraries that could be designated in each state and created regional librarie. The responsibility of a regional library is to collect every publication of the Federal government while other depository libraries may collect only what is pertinent to their collection. Currently the two regional depositories in Wisconsin are the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Milwaukee Public Library. Beginning in 1977 and 1985 the FDLP began collecting microfilm and CDROMs respectively.


To become a depository library, the potential depository must prove the following:


  • The location helps public access to material.
  • It can be reached via public transportation or has sufficient parking.
  • There is sufficient space to house the depository material.
  • The facilities are handicapped accessible.
  • The libray has the proper equipment to access all medias of government publication, i.e. microfilm readers, CDROM drives and internet access.
  • The library must have a commitment to public service with a focus wide enough to encompass the multitude of needs and interests generated by potential patrons of a depository library.


To locate other depository libraries, visit the FDLP's website at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/libraries.html



Anne Rauh


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