Government Publications

Social Science and History Department

The Free Library of Philadelphia is a selective depository library for U.S. Government publications as a participant in the Federal Depository Library Program. This library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 United States Code). The collection is housed in the Social Science and History Department (SSH) at the Parkway Central Library. The Library has been a federal depository since 1897 and has the oldest collection of government publications in the Delaware Valley. The department also collects Philadelphia and Pennsylvania publications. Our collection includes over 1,000,000 items from virtually every agency of the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the federal government. Information about much of our collection may be found in the Free Library of Philadelphia's catalog; however, not all of our collection is in the catalog. Please see staff for assistance. Electronic links from our catalog may direct patrons to the latest electronic government information online.

A significant amount of federal government information published since 1995 is available electronically. Staff is available to provide expertise in locating and downloading this information. Documents also come in many conventional formats including books, pamphlets, periodicals, microfiche and microfilm, and DVDs.

The government information found in our department is helpful to genealogists, Civil War buffs, and students of history, law, and economics. Current government information is essential to entrepreneurs, business owners, and teachers. Those seeking government grants and loans are frequent users of our collection.

Learn more about retrieving books and materials from Government Publications in the Social Science and History Department and the Free Library's new off-site storage facility, the Regional Operations Center (ROC).

Visit or Contact Us

Parkway Central Library
1901 Vine Street 19103
Phone: 215-686-5330

Department Hours
Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
We are a Federal depository library