Government Publications 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. The library has been serving as a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents since 1897.
Public access to these documents is guaranteed by public law: Title 44 United States Code.
Learn more about our collections and services.
Our federal collection is a major resource for census, economic and marketing data; political and election information; legislative histories and statistics.
Our depository collections also encompass publications from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia.
Our legal reference collection houses law reference materials, as well as a circulating collection of books focusing on popular legal topics. Our reference collection includes the U.S. Code Annotated, the Code of Federal Regulations, Purdon’s Pennsylvania Statutes and the Pennsylvania Code. While we do maintain copies of the United States Reports, beginning with 1754 as part of the depository program, we do not carry case law.
These collections are maintained by the Social Science and History Department at Parkway Central Library.
If you have questions about our material holdings, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an educator who is interested in bringing your class to review materials from our collection, you may contact us in advance by emailing email@example.com. We will work with you to gather materials on a particular subject that can be presented to your group.
The Free Library offers access to a broad selection of databases that support government research.
- American State Papers 1789-1838 - This is a source of primary material on many aspects of early American history.
- Archive-It - This is a web archiving service that collects and stores the websites of Philadelphia government agencies and selected cultural institutions. You can search or browse the collection to view these sites as they existed in months or years past.
- Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government - This guide is designed to inform students, parents and educators about the Federal Government.
- Declassified Documents Reference System - Declassified U.S. Government documents are available to view here
- Coronavirus Research Database - This ProQuest resource curates openly available content related to coronaviruses. It includes thousands of open-access articles from the world’s leading publishers as well as current research from pre-print repositories such as arXiv and will continue to grow and evolve as more is learned about the pandemic.
- Driver’s Permit Practice Tests Online - Find practice tests for the PA drivers permit exam, the motorcycle operator's test, the CDL practice test, as well as digital versions of the PA Driver’s Handbook, the PA Motorcycle Handbook, and the PA CDL Handbook.
- Govinfo.gov - The Government Publishing Office provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government.
- Gun Regulation and Legislation in America - This HeinOnline collection brings together periodicals, legislative histories and government documents on gun regulation with bibliographies and external resource recommendations.
- HathiTrust U.S. Federal Documents Collection - HathiTrust's government documents program expands and enhances digital access to U.S. federal publications including those issued by GPO and other federal agencies.
- HeritageQuest Online - This is an expanding collection of research materials to help you trace your family lineage, including United States population census records.
- Healthcare.gov - This is the official guide to U.S. health care, health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.
- LearningExpress Library - Find practice tests and preparation study materials for academic and professional tests including the LSAT
- Medlineplus.gov - This National Library of Medicine service provides health information for the public.
- Serial Set Maps 1817-1994 - More than 70,000 maps in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set include great atlases, small individual maps, triangulation surveys, weekly weather maps and more.
- Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture and Law - This HeinOnline collection brings together legal materials on slavery in the U.S. and the English-speaking world. It includes nearly 2,000 titles with every statute and case on slavery, as well as hundreds of historic texts and modern histories.
- U.S. Citizenship Test Prep - Find information about the U.S. Citizenship test, as well as study materials and practice tests.
- U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1817-1980) - Full-text reports, documents and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are available here.
2020 Census - Find and review esearch guides about the census.
America at War - This guide includes resources and information about America's involvement in wars and conflicts through the years.
Art, Architecture and Engineering - This guide introduces subject specific digital resources from government agencies.
Free Case Law - The Law Library of Congress introduces free case law resources available online.
Coronavirus Pandemic - Review government resources from United States Health Agencies.
COVID-19 Publications - Find and review legislative, presidential and regulatory issuances.
Genealogy Resources - Review geneaology research aids for federal records.
Maps and Geoscience - View digital resources from the United States Geological Survey.
Military and Veteran Resources - This resource guide covers financial, medical, educational and employment topics.
Opioids - This guide offers resources and information for families and the community.
Presidential Documents - This guide offers resources and information related to the Office of the President of the United States.