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Government Documents - Federal Depository Program: Home

What is the Federal Depository Program?


Government Documents is the official term given to materials received through the Federal Library Depository Program.

They are official documents published by federal agencies from the three branches of the Federal Government.

Legislative materials such as Congressional hearings and reports, statistical information and publications from various federal agencies, and decisions from the United States Supreme Court are included in this collection.

History of the Government Printing Office

The Government Printing Office (GPO) was created on June 23, 1860. The responsibilities of the Government Printing Office were codified in Title 44, Chapter 19 of the United States Code. The Public Printer, who serves at the pleasure of the President, heads the agency. One of the responsibilities of the Public Printer is to appoint a Superintend of Documents who oversees the Federal Depository Program.

The Federal Depository Program was initially established by Congress in 1813. It required that certain government publications be distributed to libraries for public use. The Librarian of Congress was responsible for distribution of the government publications, but in the 1850’s responsibility was shifted to the Secretary of the Interior.
The Printing Act of 1876 gave the Government Printing Office the responsibility of printing publications for all three branches of the federal Government.  It also gave Government Printing Office responsibility for the dissemination of Government publications for sale and for deposit in congressionally designated libraries.

In 1962 the Depository Library Act codified the Federal Depository Library Program in Title 44, Chapter 44 of the United States Code. The Act permitted independent federal agencies to distribute their documents to depository libraries. In addition regional depository libraries were established and new depository libraries were created.

As technology advanced and the Internet became widely accepted, the Government Printing Office Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act of 1993 which is codified in Title 44, Chapter 41 of the United States Code required more electronic access.  The Congressional Record, Federal Register, other government documents chosen by the Superintend of Documents were now required to be available in electronic format.

Government Documents Collection

These links to Databases are available for anyone to access.  In addition to the Databases, this guide does lists some paper resources available in the MacPhaidin Library.

All government documents are accessible for public use in the library. Students, faculty, and staff may borrow paper documents that circulate. Library users who do have borrowing privileges may borrow documents that circulate through interlibrary loan from their own public library.

Library hours for the general public during the academic year are from 8:00 am to 12:00 am. Monday through Thursday, Friday 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. Saturday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am to 12:00 am.

History of the Federal Depository at MacPhaidin Library

The MacPhaidin Library at Stonehill College has been a selective depository since 1962. The depository was originally house in the Cushing-Martin Library and in 1998 the depository collection was moved to the new MacPhaidin Library. Stonehill College obtained designation as a depository shortly after the Federal Depository Act increased the number of possible depositories. It was our United States Representative, Joseph W. Martin, Jr. who helped to confer depository status upon the library.

Since 1962, the depository has collected a steady portion of the publications offered by the Government Printing Office. We currently collect approximately 12% of the items available for selection. The majority of the publications come in electronic format, but the depository does received items in paper, microfiche formats. 

Profile of the Fourth Congressional District

The Fourth Congressional District is represented by U. S. Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III. The district includes the follwing cities and towns:

In Bristol County:

Attleboro, Berkley, Dighton, Easton, Fall River, Ward 4, Precinct C; Ward 5, Precinct B1 and C; Ward 6, Precinct C1; and Wards 7, 8, and 9 Freetown, Mansfield, North Attleboro, Norton, Raynham: Precincts 1A, 2A, 3 and 4. Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, and Taunton.

In Middlesex County:
Hopkinton and Newton.

In Norfolk County:
Bellingham: Precincts 1, 2, 3, and 4, Brookline, Dover, Foxborough, Franklin, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Needham, Norfolk, Plainville, Sharon, Wellesley, and Wrentham.

In Plymouth County:

In Worcester County:
Hopedale, and Milford

Communities that are close to the library, but not in our Congressional District include:

Abington, Avon, Brockton, Canton, Dedham, Duxbury, Hanover, Holbrook, Kingston, Marshfield, Norwell, Norwood, Plymouth, Scituate, Stoughton, Taunton, Walpole, Westwood, and Whitman

To look up census data for the Fourth Congressional district, please consult the U. S. Census Fast Facts for Congress web page.


Adobe Acrobat Reader Software

Many electronic documents require that they can only be viewed in Abode Acrobat format.  Below is a link to the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader software.


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