U.S. Government Printing Office

The United States Government Printing Office (known as the Government Publishing Office since 2014) was established in 1860 by Congressional Joint Resolution 25. It began operating officially the next year on March 4, 1861, and has continuously served all three branches of America’s federal government since. It is responsible for printing and binding documents produced by the Supreme Court, Congress, and the White House in addition to various other federal and independent agencies. For much of its existence, the GPO was the largest printing concern in the world and in 1972 its employment peaked at 8,500. The head of the GPO is the Public Printer; this appointment is made by the President and confirmed by the Senate and dates back to Benjamin Franklin’s role as “publick printer” leading up to the Revolutionary War. The Public Printer then selects a Superintendent of Documents, who is responsible for disseminating the information processed by the GPO. This is accomplished through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), the Federal Digital System, and the GPO’s online bookstore. These programs provide free access to government documents and ensure the availability of Federal information to the general public. The GPO has always sought to stay ahead of the curve and has long been an early adopter of new technologies. Today, much of the GPO’s operation revolves around digitizing existing publications and digitally publishing new government documents.


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