Our mission

Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

#nlw14 FDLP Edition Day 3: Oklahoma Department of Libraries

Today our Federal Depository Library themed celebration of National Library Week focuses on the 2009 winner of the Government Printing Office’s Library of the Year Award. Here’s the citation from the award page:

Oklahoma Department of Libraries Named 2009 Federal Depository Library of the Year

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) was named the 2009 Federal Depository Library of the Year at the Fall Federal Depository Library Conference and Depository Library Council meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Public Printer Robert C. Tapella presented the award to ODL’s Steve Beleu and Cliff Broadworth on behalf of the U.S. Government Printing Office and the Federal Depository Library Program.

“The Oklahoma Department of Libraries should be commended for their efforts in providing training, education and awareness to Government information resources and how to use them,” said Public Printer Bob Tapella. “Federal depository libraries have provided openness to the documents of our democracy since the early 1800s and are a vital link between the Government and its citizens.”

“It’s quite an honor to receive this award, and it’s a tribute to Steve Beleu and Cliff Broadworth in our U.S. Government Information Division,” said Susan McVey, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. “Since 2003, the division has delivered nearly 200 library workshops to the people of Oklahoma, with occasional sessions in neighboring states. The division also tailors the workshops to highlight federal information relevant to particular communities, and that can make a big difference since it’s all about connecting citizens with their government and its services.”

ODL provides Federal Government information to people throughout the entire state of Oklahoma. As one of two regional libraries in Oklahoma, they are proactive and supportive of the libraries they serve in the state, providing excellent service, training and on-site visitations. Officials at ODL have conducted workshops for library staff in all types of libraries in the state by teaching them how to provide their patrons with access to Federal Government information resources. In addition, ODL works with staff from Federal agencies to provide librarians with the latest information from agency Web sites and databases. Recently, ODL conducted a workshop for new employees in the U.S. Census offices throughout Oklahoma regarding information about U.S. Census.





Do you have a story about the Oklahoma Department of Libraries? Please share in comments!

#nlw14 FDLP Edition Day 2: Johnson County Library

Today our Federal Depository Library themed celebration of National Library Week focuses on the 2010 winner of the Government Printing Office’s Library of the Year Award. Here’s the citation from the award page:

Johnson County Library Named 2010 Federal Depository Library of the Year

The Johnson County Library of Overland Park, Kansas was named the 2010 Federal Depository Library of the Year at the Fall Federal Depository Library Conference and Depository Library Council meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Public Printer Robert C. Tapella presented the award to Donna Lauffer, County Librarian, on behalf of the U.S. Government Printing Office and the Federal Depository Library Program.

“I congratulate Johnson County Library for their efforts in making Government information open and transparent to the public,” said Public Printer Bob Tapella. “Federal depository libraries are an important component of the open Government process, linking the American people with Government information.”

GPO selected Johnson County Library, a Federal depository library since 1979, for its excellent customer service and ongoing commitment to open Government. The library has implemented many initiatives in order to better provide the public with access to Federal Government information. Through its annual GovFest event, Johnson County Library connects Government agency representatives and business owners to create and expand economic opportunities. The library is also an active participant in GovDocs Kids Group, a national group of Government document librarians that provide Government information and resources to K-12 students, teachers and librarians. Additionally, during the 2009 tax season, the Johnson County Library’s Government information Web pages and Tax Tips blog assisted over 5,000 people with federal tax-related issues.

“The Johnson County Library is honored to be awarded Library of the Year by the GPO,” said County Librarian Donna Lauffer. “We find that Government documents are a valuable tool for the public in that they are free and reliable information. The public views all forms of Government as one and the same. Our library works to raise the public’s awareness by being relevant to their everyday information needs. Raising awareness of the importance of an open Government moves everyone forward in these difficult economic times.”





Note: No award was given in 2011.
Do you have a story about the Johnson County Library? Please share in comments!

State Agency Databases Activity Report 4/13/2014

It was a typical week for the volunteers at the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases.



Today’s featured database is from Marilyn Von Seggern, who maintains the Washington page:

Washington State Fiscal Information    http://www.fiscal.wa.gov/ – A state law passed in 2008 required creation of a website that would make state revenue and expenditure data as open, transparent, and publicly accessible as is feasible with the goal of making government more accountable. The database provides access to expenditures, revenues, workloads, caseloads, performance measures, and performance audits as well as current and historical budget data and accounting data (some sections searchable by parameter and some provide reports).  The Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program (LEAP) Committee and the Office of Financial Management are jointly responsible for the site.

Examples of financial information available from the database are state agency budget requests, statewide expenditure histories, and state revenues by source up to the most recent month.



See the full story of the last week’s changes by visiting http://tinyurl.com/statedbs. Below are some highlights of the week.



MISSOURI (Annie Moots)

Rest Areas and Welcome Centers – Clickable map of 14 rest areas on seven different interstate highways in Missouri. Seven of these are also welcome centers. Some have dual areas across the interstate from each other. Information for each area includes location, who maintains it, the closest town, amenities, number of parking spaces, hours, and distance to the next rest area.


NEW JERSEY (Stephanie Bartz)

New Jersey Courts Search Page – “This is a full-text archive of the Opinions of the New Jersey Courts, including the Supreme Court, from March, 1994 to date, the Superior Court Appellate Division and the Tax Court from September, 1995 to date. Please note that in 2005, the New Jersey Administrative Office of Courts changed its publication policy and began to release all Appellate Division decisions for inclusion in this database. Before that date, decisions marked “Unpublished” were not released, and are available only from the court directly.” Hosted by the Rutgers Law Library – Newark.


Historical Media Databases

Missouri – Missouri Digital Heritage – Contains historical collections about MO from the State Archives, the State Historical Society, and other institutions across the state. Search by keyword or browse collections.




ALABAMA (Paula Webb)

Search for a degree program – Allows users to search for a degree program at any Alabama institution of higher education. A general keyword search which can be limited by degree level. Former URL – http://www.ache.state.al.us/PISearch/default.htm


WISCONSIN (Mark Rozmarynowski)

Utility Information Listing – maintained by the Public Service Commission. Search by utility name, PSC id number, industry (electricity, water, etc.) or service (holding company, local exchange carrier, etc.). Results list utility status, reporting class and address. Data may be exported to an Excel spreadsheet. Former URL – http://psc.wi.gov/apps/utility/content/findunf.aspx


#nlw14 FDLP Edition Day 1: Newark, Olin and Buffalo

First up in our Federal Depository Library themed celebration of National Library Week are the 2012 winners of the Government Printing Office’s Library of the Year Award. Here’s the citation from the award page:

2012 Federal Depository Libraries of the Year

For the first time, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) honored three extraordinary Federal Depository Libraries of the Year at the 2012 Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library Conference.

One regional depository and two selective depositories received special recognition for going above and beyond to further the Federal Depository Library Program’s (FDLP) mission of ensuring the American public has free access to its Government’s information.

The three libraries chosen this year have demonstrated extraordinary levels of service to expand access to Federal Government collections and services.

GPO is proud to honor:

  • Newark Public Library (Newark, New Jersey)
  • The Olin Library at Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • The University at Buffalo Libraries (Buffalo, New York)

Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks presented the awards to the esteemed recipients, on behalf of GPO and the FDLP.


Newark Public Library
The Newark Public Library has served as the regional library for the other Federal depository libraries in the state of New Jersey for nearly 50 years. It was selected for making the best use of limited resources and continuing to provide excellent public services.

The Olin Library at Washington University
The Olin Library was selected for providing training opportunities to other depository librarians in the area and for collaborating with their regional depository to ensure the needs of the populous St. Louis metro area are served.

The University at Buffalo Libraries
The University at Buffalo Libraries was selected for maintaining several services which provide Federal depository libraries valuable assistance in processing U.S. Government publications received through the FDLP.

“I commend the Newark Public Library, the Olin Library, and the University at Buffalo Libraries for their contributions to the FDLP and outstanding commitment to serving their communities,” said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. “GPO thanks all of the Federal depository libraries for playing a critical role in providing and expanding public access to Government information.”

Do you have a story about one of these libraries? Share it in comments?

This week in FGI blogging history: Jacobs & Jacobs interview; DSSOA; OpenSecrets goes OpenData; GovTrack

Borrowing from BoingBoing, one of our favorite blogs, we’re instituting a new series “this week in FGI blogging history” where we’ll go back in the FGI vault to see what we were writing about 1 year ago, 5 years ago, and 9 years ago (November will be our 10 year anniversary!). Enjoy and let us know what you think.

One year ago this week:

Lunchtime listen: Jacobs and Jacobs interviewed on the Library Cafe: Jim and James talk with Thomas Hill about FGI, the FDLP, and the future of government information. Tom is a librarian at Vassar College and hosts the Library Café.

Digital Surrogate Seal of Approval: a Consumer-oriented Standard: We propose the “Digital-Surrogate Seal of Approval” (DSSOA) as a simple way of describing digital objects created from printed books and other non-digital originals as surrogates for the analog original. The DSSOA denotes that a digitization accurately and completely replicates the content and presentation of the original. It can be used to express an intended goal during the planning stages of digitization and to guarantee the quality of existing digital surrogates. The DSSOA Criteria can be used to evaluate individual digital objects or entire completed collections. DSSOA is independent of production technologies and methodologies and focuses instead on the perspective of consumers — including libraries that rely on digital surrogates.

Five years ago this week:

OpenSecrets.org Goes OpenData: Today the Center for Responsive Politics has announced that it’s putting 200 million data records from its archive directly into the hands of citizens, activists, journalists and anyone else interested in following the money in U.S. politics. The data are available through the site’s Action Center. Thanks OpenSecrets!

Nine years ago this week:

Govtrack: Legislative Tracking for the Common Citizen: http://www.govtrack.us/ is a creative use of freely available government information resources to create something new and potentially valuable, but still free.