May 22, 2022

UPDATED: Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Posts COVID-19 Guidance for Federal Depository Libraries

UPDATE March 17: Federal Depository Library Program Announcement:

In the nationwide response to the COVID-19 outbreak, libraries have reported varying operating statuses to GPO. Due to the high volume of libraries that are closed or have limited ability to accept deliveries, GPO is temporarily suspending depository shipments to libraries. Depository boxes of paper and electronic media, as well as microfiche, will be held at GPO until further notice.

GPO will reevaluate the situation on March 31, 2020 to determine if it is reasonable to resume delivery services at that time

—End Update—

UPDATE March 13 From a Federal Depository Library Program Announcement:

Federal depository libraries are alerting GPO when their library has closed, closed their facility but remains in service virtually, or has set restrictions on who may enter the library. GPO appreciates communication with libraries and is heartened to hear of the actions being taken to protect people during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some institutions have decided to close their institution to members of the public to limit exposure to the virus. As a result, libraries have specifically questioned whether members of the public may temporarily be denied physical access to the depository collection during the outbreak, while library affiliates (students, faculty, staff, etc.) have continued access.

GPO’s position is that institutions acting to limit exposure to the virus should address their situation as appropriate. Given the state of emergency, libraries may temporarily block the public’s physical access to the depository collection. Libraries that do so are strongly encouraged to advertise the changing access restrictions on their website and in signage visible from outside the library. Additionally, libraries should emphasize how the public may get help remotely over the phone, email, or other virtual means.

—End Update—

March 9th Post

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and is aware that state and Federal offices and institutions throughout the country are making adjustments to work schedules, using telework and online options, and closing as precautionary and preventive measures.

GPO is receiving questions from depository libraries about access to their collections in these situations. These actions are taking place for the safety of library employees and patrons. 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.

If your library closes, please inform GPO and your Regional Depository Coordinator. Communication is key. Place a notice on your library’s door and website, and consider putting a public note in your library’s entry in the Federal Depository Library Directory about the closure. For more guidance and sample text you can use or modify, consult “What To Do If Your Library Has Unplanned Access Restrictions.” And if you haven’t already, you might also want to register for the March 25, 2020 webinar, “Pandemic! NLM Resources for Librarians to Assist Researchers and the Public in Understanding the Coronavirus and Influenza.”

See Also: infoDOCKET Collection of COVID-19 Resources, Documents, etc. 

See Also: Directory of Direct Links to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information/Data Portals/Resource Centers From State Governments and District of Columbia

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.