Freedom of Information Act:

Agency Reading Rooms

GGD-89-84BR: Published: May 31, 1989. Publicly Released: Jul 6, 1989.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO determined: (1) whether agencies maintained reading rooms to make Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) materials available for public inspection and copying; (2) how agencies notified the public of the existence of reading rooms; and (3) whether reading rooms contained material other than required FOIA documents.

GAO found that: (1) FOIA does not require agencies to provide public reading rooms; (2) 13 of the 15 agencies selected for review reported that a reading room was available, while 2 reported that FOIA documents were available occasionally or at various locations; (3) all 15 agencies published FOIA implementation regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); (4) 12 of the 13 agencies with reading rooms provided varying amounts of information about their reading rooms in CFR; and (5) some reading rooms contained only required FOIA documents, while others contained additional materials.

Oct 8, 2020

Jul 16, 2020

Mar 30, 2020

Mar 16, 2020

Dec 16, 2019

Oct 17, 2019

Aug 10, 2018

Jun 25, 2018

Mar 13, 2018

Looking for more? Browse all our products here