Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2017

Publication Title

Law Library Journal


FDLP, GPO, digital information, government information, depository libraries, law libraries


This article recounts the literature of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when some librarians, considering the changing form of government information, questioned whether the FDLP would survive in its existing form and recommended FDLP changes that would keep depository libraries engaged as the means of accessing digital government information evolved. In the later 2000s, articles and reports included comprehensive suggestions to the GPO, by and on behalf of library associations, of ways to make depository libraries stronger partners in the FDLP. Possibly in response to these calls for reform, the GPO polled depository libraries in its 2012 FDLP Forecast Survey to gauge interest and commitment to new and evolving roles for depository libraries responsive to the digital environment in which we now find most government information. This article summarizes the results of that survey. The article then presents the results of an independent survey of academic law libraries conducted by the author to find out whether law library leaders are considering withdrawal from the FDLP or still find FDLP partnership an essential component of access to government information through their libraries. Finally, the article briefly outlines GPO plans for the FDLP released in 2016. Ultimately, the article concludes that whether to withdraw from the FDLP may no longer be a timely question for most law libraries as GPO works on plans to forge a more modern relationship with libraries, one that better aligns with contemporary law library missions, capabilities, and priorities.