Freedom of Information Act:

Agency Reading Rooms

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

Additional Materials:


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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.

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