Government Documents

Congress established the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) in 1813 to ensure that the American public has free access to information published by the U. S. government. This program safeguards one of our nation’s strongest traditions: the public’s right to know. The FDLP identifies, catalogs and ensures permanent access to government publications through Federal Depository Libraries. Types of materials include print, microfiche, maps, posters, CD-ROM and online access. The materials made available through the Depository program are governed by the U. S. Code, Title 44, which states: “Government publications, except those determined by their issuing components to be required for official use only or for strictly administrative or operational purposes which have no public interest or educational value and publications classified for reasons of national security, shall be made available to depository libraries through the facilities of the Superintendent of Documents for public information”.

Along with the stations in the public computer lab, a dedicated computer terminal is available for use to patrons of any age who need additional time or help when accessing government documents.

The participation of the Erie County Public Library in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) began in March 1897 through the sponsorship of Francis A. Crandall, the first Superintendent of Documents and former editor of Erie’s newspapers. At this time Erie’s public library building was still in the planning stages, but space had been set aside to store the government publications and other books until the building was completed. Today, the Erie County Public Library acquires more than 15% of the U. S. government publications made available through the FDLP. Government publications can be located using the Library Catalog.