Government Printing Office's Depository Library Program

AFMD-85-19: Published: Dec 17, 1984. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Government Printing Office's (GPO) Depository Library Program which makes federal agency publications accessible to the public free of charge at designated libraries throughout the country.

GAO found that, with a budget of $24.7 million in 1983, GPO distributed 32 million copies of 62,000 publications to depository libraries. Some of the depositories received all publications, while others selected the types of publications that they wanted. GAO found that GPO has made a significant improvement in the operation of the program by reducing the backlog of documents to be classified and cataloged. GPO has also expended substantial effort to distribute documents as microfiche instead of in hardcopy form. GAO also found that program personnel were generally dedicated to providing a high level of service, and the services provided generally met user needs. However, GAO also found a number of activities where program efficiency and effectiveness could be further improved. GAO believes that: (1) more attention should be given to identifying agency publications for inclusion in the program; (2) GPO needs to further reduce its backlog of publications awaiting classification and cataloging; and (3) steps should be taken to improve the timeliness and accuracy of the GPO processes for distributing publications to libraries.

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