Modernizing Fundamental Public Access to Government Information

Apr 12, 2018

WASHINGTON – Committee on House Administration, led by Chairman Gregg Harper (MS-3), today unanimously reported H.R. 5305, the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Modernization Act of 2018, out of Committee.

The concepts of public access to government information date back to 1812 when Congress authorized additional copies of the House and Senate journals be printed and distributed. Since then, access to government information has expanded to include the availability of information and publications produced by the federal government and the federal judiciary, in addition to the Congress. The current Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) has been in place since 1962.

Over the past year, the Committee examined the structure of the FDLP and developed solutions to modernize this important system. Following passage of H.R. 5305, Chairman Harper said:

“The FDLP is an integral tool the government uses to provide free access to public information, to spur innovation and research, and to maintain the integrity of countless documents that make up our nation’s history. As technology has evolved, so must the FDLP. The FDLP Modernization Act makes needed updates to strengthen the program’s relevance in the future, as well as ensures that the public continues to have access to government information and publications.

“The Committee held a number of hearings, roundtables, and meetings with nationwide library associations. Additionally, there were a number of meetings held with individual librarians who provided the Committee with constructive insight into how the FDLP could be strengthened to ensure its relevance in the 21st Century. Furthermore, what better way to mark the occasion of National Library Week, than with the FDLP Modernization Act moving one step closer to making meaningful reforms for libraries and our nation. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to enact this bipartisan measure that will create a stronger national collection of information.”

CHA