FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the history of GPO?
How is GPO managed?
What does GPO do?
What is GPO Access?
What is the Federal Depository Library Program?
How do I get documents from GPO?
Who pays for GPO?
Where is GPO Located?
Q. What is the history
A. The U.S. Government Printing Office’s core mission, Keeping America Informed, dates to 1813 when Congress determined the need to make information regarding the work of the three branches of Government available to all Americans. This is the inherent function of Government which GPO carries out for Federal agencies on behalf of the 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.
Today, GPO is at the epicenter of technological change, embracing a historic mission while looking to the digital future. The approximately 2,250 men and women of GPO are hard at work transforming the agency into a 21st century digital information processing facility. Watch a brief video about the history of GPO.
Q. How is GPO managed?
A. As Public Printer, Robert C. Tapella serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the GPO, responsible for overseeing GPO's day-to-day printing, printing procurement and information dissemination operations serving Congress, Federal agencies and the American public.
Q. What does GPO do?
A. GPO is the Federal Government’s primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published information in all its forms.
GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government.
For example, GPO made the Official Government Edition of The 9-11 Commission Report available to the American public through GPO Access at no cost at the exact time the 9-11 Commission issued its report in July 2004. The printed report was also available through our sales program at the very same time for a minimal charge. Unlike most Federal agencies, GPO operates much like a business, as it is reimbursed by its customers for the cost of work performed. In addition, the GPO distributed free copies of the report to the more than 1,250 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program located in congressional districts across the country.
GPO’s main mission is to ensure the American public has access to Government information.
Q. What is GPO Access?
A. 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.
Q. What is the Federal Depository Library
A. 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. Participating libraries may be located via GPO Access or by calling toll-free 866.512.1800.
Q. How do I get documents from GPO?
A. There are approximately a quarter of a million titles available to the public via the Internet on the GPO Access Web site at www.gpoaccess.gov. Through GPO’s partner Web sites, an additional half a million titles are accessible to the public. Printed copies of more than 5,500 of those documents ranging from Supreme Court opinions to reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics may also be purchased from the GPO Sales Program in person, online, via phone, fax, email, or postal mail.
To order in person, please visit the GPO Bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street N.W., Washington, DC (corner of North Capitol and H Streets) from 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. EST.
To order online, visit the U.S. Government
Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.
To order by phone or inquire about an order, call toll-free 866.512.1800 or, in the Washington, D.C. metro area, call 202.512.1800 from 7:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m. EST.
By fax, dial 202.512.2104.
By email, send order inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send mail to:
U.S. Government Printing Office
P.O. Box 979050
St. Louis, MO 63197-9000.
All orders require prepayment by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover/NOVUS credit cards, check, or SOD deposit account.
Q. Who pays for GPO?
A. Unlike most Federal agencies, GPO operates much like a business — it is reimbursed by its customers for the cost of work performed. GPO also receives two appropriations each year. One pays for the cost of congressional printing, and the other to fund the cataloging, indexing, distribution and online access to Government documents, through the FDLP.
Q. Where is GPO located?
A. GPO’s central office is located at 732 North Capitol Street N.W., Washington, DC 20401. In addition to its headquarters, GPO has offices in 16 cities across the country. For more information, please call 202.512.0000.