Circular Letter No. 1012
(Supersedes Circular Letters No. 790 dated October 1, 2010 and 794 dated October 19, 2010)
August 10, 2018

TO: Printing and Publishing Officials of the Federal Government

SUBJECT: Disseminating Information Products to the Public through GPO's Federal Depository Library Program

The Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), administers the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) in compliance with the Depository Library Act (Pub. L. 113-187, Aug. 9, 1962, 76 Stat. 352, codified as amended at 44 U.S.C. §§ 1901-1916), and in support of GPO's mission of keeping American informed. The FDLP provides permanent free public access to tangible and electronic information dissemination products of the U.S. Government through a network of over 1,100 depository libraries throughout the United States and its territories.

All U.S. Government publications of public interest or educational value, or produced using Federal funds, are to be provided to depository libraries for public use, in print and electronic formats. Exceptions are those products that are:

  • For official use only or for strictly administrative use that are not of public interest or educational value.
  • Classified for reasons of national security.
  • The use of which is constrained by privacy considerations.
  • “Cooperative publications” which must be sold by the publishing agency in order to be self-sustaining.

How Working with GPO Benefits Your Agency

Your efforts are crucial to help GPO widely disseminate your agency’s publications and, in addition, meet the mandates of 44 U.S.C. §§1710, 1902-1903 that require information dissemination products published with Federal funds, in any format, be made available to the public.

Besides complying with the law, including publications in the FDLP guarantees your information dissemination products are:

  • Discoverable by a broad audience
  • Represented in the comprehensive index of government publications, the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)
  • Preserved in perpetuity for future generations of researchers, historians, and the general public.

See Appendix I Benefits to Agency, Reach the Public through GPO's Federal Depository Library Program for more information.

How to Inform GPO of Your Publications

  • Print and Other Tangible Publications
    • For orders placed through GPO (Central Office and Regional Offices) and/or on agency direct-deal contracts, GPO decides which publications to distribute through the FDLP and determines the appropriate distribution medium and quantity required. GPO bears the printing and binding costs of the depository copies.
    • For products produced independently of GPO, agencies are required to notify GPO of their intent to publish, and bear the printing and binding or replication charges for the number of copies required for depository library distribution. In all cases, GPO bears the expense of distributing the copies. Please notify GPO of upcoming publications printed independent of GPO by submitting one of the following forms to the shared [email protected] email box for rider determination:
      • GPO Form 3868 Notification of Intent to Publish
      • GPO Form 4044 Simplified Purchase Agreement (SPA) Work Order Form
      Forms are available at
  • Electronic or Online Publications
  • GPO will ensure permanent public access and make your publications discoverable in GPO’s online research systems, OCLC (an international database of library resources), and the online catalogs of depository libraries nationwide. Please notify GPO via askGPO ( under the category Federal Depository Libraries, subcategory Fugitive publications/LostDocs. Please provide the following:
    • Publication title
    • URL
    • Any other pertinent information (e.g., new, corrected, reprinted, or next issue of continuing resource)
    If you have a large number of publications to report, contact [email protected] to discuss options for submission. We endeavor to make it as easy as possible for you to meet your statutory obligation.

Additional Guidance

A listing of terms and their definitions is included for clarification. The enclosed Guidelines for the Provision of Government Publications for Depository Library Distribution (Appendix II) was developed to guide Federal agency officials in determining the suitability of various U.S. Government publications for depository distribution. To further assist you in making your determinations,"Types of Publications to Be Included in the Federal Depository Library Program" and "Types of Publications Excluded from the Federal Depository Library Program"are also included as Appendices III and IV.

Please help us ensure that all U.S. Government publications are evaluated for inclusion in the FDLP. If you have any questions about what is in scope of the FDLP, or how to comply with the statutory mandate to furnish publications, please contact the individuals referenced in Appendi II, or your GPO Customer Services representative.


Sandra MacAfee
Managing Director, Customer Services

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