The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its Government's information. Since 1813, depository libraries have safeguarded the public's right to know by collecting, organizing, maintaining, preserving, and assisting users with information from the Federal Government. The FDLP provides Government information at no cost to designated depository libraries throughout the country and its territories. These depository libraries, in turn, provide local, no-fee access to Government information in an impartial environment with professional assistance.
As institutions committed to equity of access and dedicated to free and unrestricted public use, the nation's nearly 1,250 depository libraries serve as one of the vital links between "We the people" and our Government. Anyone can visit Federal depository libraries and use the Federal depository collections which are filled with information on careers, business opportunities, consumer information, health and nutrition, legal and regulatory information, demographics, and numerous other subjects.
Houston Cole Library (HCL) was designated a selective depository for U.S. Government publications in 1929. As a selective depository, HCL currently selects approximately 32 percent of the publications available from the Government Printing Office and other federal agencies. The Government Documents Department collects, organizes, and provides the public with free and unimpeded access to these publications.
A significant portion of government publications are now available in electronic format. These electronic publications can be found online using the links on this guide, and are also available through the Library's catalog.