Government Information

The Issue

Libraries collect, organize, and preserve and help the public find, use, and understand a wealth of information from their local, state, and federal governments. For as long as libraries have been delivering government information of all types to the public, ALA has been advocating to protect and improve public access to government information. From the Federal Depository Library Program to a variety of e-government services, including the Census and emergency response and recovery services, libraries have continued to play to role of advocate for the public.

What is government information?

Government information and government information products are published, compiled, or created by the government, at government expense or as required by law. This applies to all government publications, regardless of format, including:

  • Census data
  • Scientific research
  • Laws and regulations
  • Information about how to interact with government (apply for programs and comply with rules)
  • Educational information
  • Information about how government is operating

How does ALA advocate for public access to government information?

The library community has a long-standing commitment to public access to information created by or for the federal, state, and local government. This principle of the public’s "Right to Know” is the cornerstone of government accountability and informed public participation. This is why ALA advocates for public policies that promote public access to government information, open government, and E-Government services.

Recent Advocacy

  • Letter to the Government Publishing Office with comments on proposed Digital Federal Depository Library Program (October 14, 2022)
  • Letter to the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee supporting the confirmation of Dr. Colleen Shogan as Archivist of the United States (September 23, 2022) 
  • Testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee on the fiscal year 2023 requests for the Library of Congress and the Government Publishing Office (May 24, 2022)
  • Correspondence & Filing Archive

Staff Contact Information

Gavin Baker
Assistant Director, Public Policy and Advocacy