Federal Depository Library



federal depository library

On March 14th, 2019, we will celebrate 135 years as a federal depository library.  A special exhibit on the 2nd floor of Central Library will feature interesting and unique documents covering topics such as Women’s History, the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, the U.S. Department of the Interior and more. 

HPL became a federal depository in 1884 while it was still the Houston Lyceum Library. This anniversary marks us as the oldest depository of government documents in the Houston area!


The Houston Lyceum Library was designated a depository library for the First Congressional District of Texas by Congressman Charles Stewart.  What was established with the Lyceum has been carried forward through the years and now holds over 850,000 documents from nearly every government agency. The citizens of Houston have benefited greatly over the last 135 years by having free access to information generated by the federal government.

The Government Documents collection is a closed-stack, non-circulating collection.  However, many publications published after 2005 are available online through our catalog. Interested? Come check out the special exhibit on 2nd floor on display.

Visit our web site for more information on HPL's U.S. Government Documents collection.

The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its Government's information. The United States Government is the largest publisher in the world. It distributes materials in a variety of formats, including electronic, CD, microfiche, and paper. As part of its publishing program, the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) distributes certain classes of Government documents free of cost to designated libraries throughout the United States and its territories. These libraries are known as Federal depository libraries. Federal depository libraries must offer free, public access to their Federal collections, even if the depository library is part of a private academic institution. In addition, information specialists are available at these libraries to assist the American public to locate Federal information.

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