Government Documents

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The Federal Depository Library Program originated in the early 1800's when a joint resolution of Congress directed that additional copies of the House and Senate Journals and other documents be printed and distributed to institutions outside the Federal establishment. From that small beginning, the Federal Depository Library Program has grown into a system of over a thousand Federal depository libraries.

Schaffer Library at Union College has been a selective federal document depository since May 17, 1901. There are several others in the Capital District, including SUNY Albany, Albany Law School, Troy Public Library, and the New York State Library which is a regional depository and receives everything distributed by GPO Library Programs Service. Schaffer Library also maintains substantial collection of indexes, abstracts and commercially produced resources and databases designed to facilitate the search for government information.

Of over 10,000 publication items the Government Printing Office makes available, we select over 3,000 or around 31%. Many government publications are also online, including those available on our databases list. We collect primarily in the areas of census, geology and political science.