GPO Statement On H.R. 5305, The FDLP Modernization Act of 2018

On March 15, 2018, Committee on House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper introduced H.R. 5305, the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018, a bipartisan bill cosponsored by all other members of the Committee to reform the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The FDLP is administered by the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO).

The GPO is pleased to support the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018. We appreciate the consultation the Committee engaged in with us as well as with other key stakeholders during its development. The bill affirms the principle that the free flow of Government information is fundamental to the health of our democracy, and acknowledges the important role Federal depository libraries play in ensuring free public access to that information.

The GPO is proud to have administered the FDLP for more than a century, investing in innovative digital technologies over the past 25 years to enhance and expand public access to Federal Government information. The FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 builds on these investments by recognizing statutorily the inclusion of digital formats in the program, and providing the flexibility needed to administer the FDLP in this digital age.

The FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 establishes a comprehensive National Collection of Information Dissemination Products, an online repository for digital content, and a Catalog of Government Products for all depository libraries to support and enhance public access to Government information. Importantly, the bill requires Federal agency content creators and GPO to collaborate more closely to ensure that Federal content is appropriately captured and made freely available to depository libraries, where knowledgeable librarians are available to serve the public’s information needs.

The bill authorizes the GPO to preserve and digitize information products, ensuring that future generations will have no-fee permanent public access to digital and print Government information products. It protects the privacy of digital Government information users. And, as the GPO’s Depository Library Council points out, it bolsters the GPO’s ability to protect the provenance and trustworthiness of Government information. All of these factors will provide critical assistance to depository libraries in meeting the challenges and opportunities of this digital age. 

The FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 is needed to assure the law keeps pace with modern Federal depository library practice. GPO looks forward to working with the Committee throughout the legislative process to ensure the bill’s key reforms can be implemented efficiently upon enactment.