GPO Stands Ready to Assist FDLs in Disaster Impact Zones

With hurricane and fire seasons underway, the impending impact of Hurricane Irma, the continued impacts of Hurricane Harvey, and Red Alerts in the Western United States, GPO stands ready to assist the regional depositories and all other Federal depository libraries in affected areas. We extend our concern and support to all libraries and personnel impacted by these unimaginable situations.

We will be keeping track of libraries in areas that are affected by these disasters and will monitor closings so that shipments can be suspended. Once libraries reopen, we will contact them to offer any assistance we can provide.

In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, when safe to do so, depository library staff are asked to inform their regional depository and GPO’s Office of Outreach and Support via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (202) 512-1119 if they are closed and when they anticipate reopening. Our staff will be happy to consult with you about maintaining free public access to Government information, arranging for temporary address changes for depository deliveries, and more.

If you have questions about damage assessment, please contact GPO at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Here are some tips for assessing your collection for water damage, once you are able to safely do so:

  1. Books with artifactual value should be addressed first because they are less likely to be replaceable with another copy.
  2. Damp books or moderately wet books can be air-dried by propping them up on a table in a room with electric fans circulating the air. Moderately wet means that the page edges and spine of a book are wet, but the book is not completely soaked.
  3. Paper towels can be used to interleave between the pages of wet books to wick out the water. The paper towels will have to be changed frequently. This is especially critical with clay-coated glossy paper. 
  4. Mud on books that are moderately wet can be brushed off after the books have dried. 
  5. Books that are wet and covered with mud can be rinsed in clean water.  Fill three plastic trash cans or tubs with clean water. Hold the book tightly shut with your hands. With the spine of the book away from you, quickly pass the book through the water lifting it out so that the spine leaves the water first.  A quick pass in the second and third tub of water may be needed. This allows the water to flow over the book and keeps dirt from getting between the pages. Change the water in the tubs or cans frequently. 
  6. Books covered with visible mold should be discarded unless they are of historic importance. Mold is considered a biological hazard and poses health risks to people working with the moldy materials who do not have respirators and other safety equipment.  

If you have any questions, our staff will be happy to consult with you about lost or damaged items. GPO is committed to helping our depository partners recover in any way that we can. We will keep the larger depository community informed as relief efforts continue over time.

Subscribe to News & Events

Enter your name and email address to receive official emails related to the FDLP.