Interior Library Receives GPO’s Library of the Year Award

Refurbished Research Center first federal agency to receive prestigious honor

Last edited 09/29/2021

Date: October 16, 2017

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Government Publishing Office has presented the Department of the Interior Library the 2017 Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) ‘Library of the Year’ award, marking the first time a federal agency library has received this prestigious honor. 

GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks said the library was selected for its leadership, promotion of Government information, highlighting Government documents through its Park Ranger Speaker series, offering a variety of reference tools for patrons, and the preservation of its collection. “I congratulate the Interior library leadership and its staff for their continued outstanding efforts in keeping America informed about the Federal Government, Vance-Cooks said. “The Library exemplifies the vital relationship GPO has with the library community in providing free public access to a vast array of government information in digital and print formats.”

“The Department of the Interior Library is very pleased and highly honored to accept the 2017 FDLP Library of the Year award," said George Franchois, Director of the Interior Library. "Our staff recognizes the importance of providing patrons unfettered access to government information, even when circumstances beyond our control create obstacles to doing so. Now that we are back in our modernized library space, we plan to continue our long tradition of furnishing access to these materials."

An FDLP member since 1895, the Interior library faced a daunting challenge in the spring of 2014. Due to the modernization of its first floor wing of the department’s headquarters building, the staff had to store most of the collection offsite, while also making these materials available to patrons in a timely manner. About 97 percent of the collection was packed and shipped -- filling more than 11,500 boxes that could stretch almost four miles -- to a climate-controlled warehouse. Most of these items were government documents the library maintains as a FDLP partner.

The remainder of the collection -- materials not available on the Internet or on subscription databases -- was housed in a temporary library at Interior. These items included frequently used Federal Depository print materials, such as the current versions of the U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Register and Congressional Record. The library staff also set up computer workstations in the temporary facility so patrons had easy access to Interior and other federal government documents that were accessible online. Because patrons also needed access to printed materials in storage (that were not available electronically), the library leadership required the contractor to provide a twice-a-week delivery service to bring requested materials from the warehouse. To ensure quick access to these stored materials, each box had been labeled by its home collection, the call number range and a unique box number. This information was downloaded onto an Excel spreadsheet shared with Library staff and warehouse personnel, allowing them to identify and rapidly retrieve requested publications.

The library officially reopened on October 4, 2017 in a modernized space that features a renovated Reading Room restored to its original appearance in 1937 (when the Interior building opened), and more than 23,000 linear feet of high-density shelving on two reconstructed basement floors and the main level. A ​meeting ​room on the main level also was added and a portion of the main floor as well as the entire upper floor have been transformed into usable office space. A video explaining the process is available at

Books and other library materials have been returned from offsite storage​ and are ​ready for use once again by the library's patrons. Located on the opposite side of the Yates Auditorium in the building’s C Street lobby entrance, the library is open Monday through Friday (except Federal holidays) from 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information and available research services, please call the Library's Reference Desk at (202) 208-5815 or visit the Library’s website at:

The Government Publishing Office (GPO) is the Federal Government's official, digital, secure resource for producing, procuring, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, disseminating and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government. The agency is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government, including U.S. passports for the Department of State as well as the official publications of Congress, the White House, and other Federal agencies. GPO provides permanent public access to Federal Government information in digital and print formats at no charge through, partnerships with 1,150 libraries nationwide in the Federal Depository Library Program, and its secure online bookstore. For more information, please visit

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