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LIS 502 -- Libraries, Information, and Society

Government Printing Office (GPO) -- identify the term and indicate its relevance to the Library and Information Science profession 


In 1813, Congress determined to make information regarding the work of the three branches of Government available to all Americans. The U.S Government Printing Office (GPO) provides publishing & dissemination services for the official & authentic government publications to Congress, Federal agencies, Federal depository libraries, & the American public.

GPO is the Federal Government's primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing and preserving published information in all its forms.
Many of our Nation's most important information products, such as the Congressional Record and Federal Register, are produced at the GPO's main plant in Washington, D.C., a 1.5 million square-foot complex that is the largest information processing, printing, and distribution facility in the world located just five blocks from the Capitol. In addition to the agency's production facilities, GPO procures between 600 and 1,000 print-related projects a day through private sector vendors across the country. The majority of the Government's printing needs are met through a long-standing partnership with America's printing industry. GPO competitively buys products and services from thousands of private sector companies in all 50 States. It is one of the Government's most successful procurement programs, assuring the most cost-effective use of the taxpayers' printing dollars.

GPO is considered an agency of the legislative branch of the Federal Government.

GPO Access is a service of the U.S. Government Printing Office that provides free electronic access to a wealth of important information products produced by the Federal Government. The information provided on this site is the official, published version and the information retrieved from GPO Access can be used without restriction, unless specifically noted. This free service is funded by the Federal Depository Library Program and has grown out of Public Law 103-40, known as the Government Printing Office Electronic Information Enhancement Act of 1993.

Established by Congress to ensure the American public has access to its Government's information, the Federal Depository Library Program involves the acquisition, format conversion, and distribution of depository materials and the coordination of Federal depository libraries across the country.
The mission of the FDLP is to disseminate information products from all three branches of the Government to more than 1,250 libraries nationwide. Libraries that have been designated as Federal depositories maintain these information products as part of their existing collections and are responsible for assuring that the public has free access to the material provided by the FDLP.
GPO, through a partnership with the FDLP, provides personal assistance in locating and using Government information.