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Introduction to Government Information for Library School Students : Home

A guide to introduce library school students to government information as reference sources, and to government information librarianship as a career specialty.

About the Federal Depository Library Program

The Federal Depository Library Program is a network of about 1,100 libraries (academic, public, law, and special) across the country. This network is coordinated by the Government Publishing Office (GPO).

Depository libraries receive government publications for free, in exchange for housing the publications, cataloging them, and providing the public with free access to and reference assistance with these publications.  A select number of depository libraries, called "regional depositories," hold on to depository materials indefinitely.  

Why a depository program?

We have a depository library program that provides people in this country with free access to titles published by the government for two basic reasons.

  1. So we, as citizens, know what our government is doing and can hold it accountable.
  2. We, as taxpayers, have paid for the production of these books, journals, pamphlets, and maps, so we shouldn’t have to pay a second time to use these titles.

Read testimonials from library staff about the importance of depository libraries.

Books about government information librarianship

Brown, Christopher C. Mastering United States Government Information: Sources and Services. Santa Barbara, California :Libraries Unlimited, 2020.


Forte, Eric J., Cassandra J. Hartnett and Andrea L. Sevetson, Fundamentals of Government Information: Mining, Finding, Evaluating, and Using Government Resources. Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman, an imprint of the American Library Association, 2016.

Webinars on government information

Help! I'm an Accidental Government Information Librarian Webinars


FDLP Academy

A service of GPO, including events and conferences coordinated by GPO, and webinars and webcasts on a wide variety of government information topics. 

FDLP Academy Training Academy Repository 

  • FDLP webinars and conference events freely available for viewing and sharing.
  • Recordings are generally available one to three business days after the event.
  • The FDLP Academy Training Repository keeps recordings for approximately two years before undergoing a review for currency. Some recordings are kept after review; others are deleted.
  • Older recordings available on the FDLP Academy: Webinars and Webcasts page.


Profile Photo
Beth Harper
Memorial Library
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Government Information Specialist

Blogs about gov't information sources & issues


  • Highlights primary government documents from around the world
  • Launched in 2002; contains searchable database of over 32,000 posts
  • Written by Sabrina I. Pacifici


FreeGovInfo (FGI)

  • "A place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research."
  • Primary bloggers are Jim A. Jacobs, James R. Jacobs, Shinjoung Yeo, Daniel Cornwall, and Rebecca Troy-Horton. (See more at the FGI About page.)


MPL Gov Info

  • Madison (Wisconsin) Public Library's government information blog, from its (now retired) government information specialist, Romeo Dais
  • Focuses on recently-published federal and Wisconsin government information