Government Printing Office

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps
 
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Page 120

Since the mid-nineteenth century, one government establishment has existed to fill the printing, binding, and distribution needs of the federal government. Established on June 23, 1860, by Congressional Joint Resolution No. 25, the GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE (GPO) has provided publication supplies and services to the U.S. Congress, the executive departments, and all other agencies of the federal government. The definition of the duties set forth in the 1860 resolution has stayed essentially the same over the years, with only one amendment in all that time, 44 U.S.C.A. § 101 et seq.

The GPO is overseen by the Congressional Joint Committee on Printing. The head of the GPO works under the title public printer and is appointed by the president of the United States with the consent of the Senate. The public printer is also legally required to be a "practical printer versed in the art of bookbinding" (44 U.S.C.A. § 301).

The GPO uses a variety of printing and binding processes, including electronic photo composition; letterpress printing; Linotype and hand composition; photopolymer platemaking; offset photography; stripping, platemaking, and presswork; and manual and machine bookbinding. The GPO also provides supplies like blank paper and ink to federal agencies, prepares catalogs, and sells and distributes some publications to civilians.

The GPO offers catalogs that detail publications available to the public. All catalogs are available from the superintendent of documents at the GPO. The GPO Sales Publications Reference File, which is issued biweekly on magnetic tape, lists the author, the title, and subject information for each new publication. A more comprehensive listing, the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, serves as an index to all the publications handled by the GPO.

The GPO also offers two free catalogs for people who are interested in new or popular publications: U.S. Government Books and New Books. The first lists the titles of best-selling government publications, and the second is a bimonthly listing of government publications for sale.

The approximately 20,000 publications listed in these catalogs can be purchased by mail from the GPO's superintendent of documents. In addition, the books and catalogs published by the GPO can be purchased at the approximately two-dozen GPO bookstores open to the public. Most of the bookstores are located in government hub cities...

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