Access to Federal Depository Library Collections and Services

covid students

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and its impact on Federal depository libraries.

Libraries have closured or placed restrictions on access and should continue to address their situation as appropriate. These actions are taking place for the safety of library employees and patrons.

In a letter sent to all Depository Coordinators, Superintendent of Documents Laurie Hall addressed questions concerning access to Government resources as libraries reopen. Recognizing that local jurisdictions and parent institutions may have specific guidance to which depository libraries must adhere, for the health and safety of library staff and for those they serve, flexibility is needed during this most challenging time. For details, read the letter from Superintendent of Documents.

For libraries that are closed:

  • Depository libraries will not be required to provide access to their collections when the library is closed. GPO is treating closures due to the COVID-19 virus the same as when libraries close for inclement weather, flooding, other disasters, or Federal holidays.

For libraries that are partially open:

  • Given the state of emergency, libraries may temporarily block the public’s physical access to the depository collection.


Communication is key. Libraries that are closed or have limited access to collections or services are strongly encouraged to advertise the changing access restrictions on their website and in signage visible from outside the library. Also consider putting a public note in your library’s entry in the Federal Depository Library Directory. Try to emphasize how the public may get help remotely over the phone, email, or other virtual means. Additionally, please inform GPO and your Regional Depository Coordinator.

As access to your collection or services changes, please update GPO by filling out the Library Reopening Notification. The form may be filled out as many times as needed.