GPO Celebrates 150 Years of Keeping America Informed

WASHINGTON, DC—March 3, 2011—The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) marks a milestone on Friday, March 4, when it officially marks 150 years of producing and delivering government documents for all three branches of the Federal Government and the public. GPO opened its doors on March 4, 1861, the same day President Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office.

Throughout its history, the agency has used constantly changing technologies to meet the needs of the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, and the public. During GPO’s early days, employees relied on ink and paper to set the text for “The Emancipation Proclamation.” Today, as another President from Illinois leads the nation, GPO employees are using the latest digital technology to document the actions of our government while carrying out its founding mission of “Keeping America Informed.”

While GPO’s past has been about printing, its present and future are being defined by digital information technologies. In fact, today it is the product of more than a generation of investment in digital production and dissemination technologies, an investment that has yielded stunning improvements in productivity, capability and savings for the taxpayers, savings of 66 percent on the cost of congressional printing alone.

Employing just 2,200 staff, fewer than at any time in the past century, GPO now provides a range of products and activities that could only have been dreamed of 30 years ago: online databases of federal documents with state-of-the-art search and retrieval capabilities available to the public without charge, government publications available as e-Books, passports and smart cards with electronic chips carrying biometric data, print products on sustainable substrates using vegetable oil based inks, and a public presence not only on the Web, but on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

In addition, GPO’s partnership with the printing industry is responsible for producing 75 percent of the government’s needs and enormous savings to the taxpayer, while supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the small printing businesses throughout the Nation, and its partnership with more than 1,200 federal depository libraries across the country supplies the federal information needs of millions of students, researchers, businesses, and others every year with both digital and print products.

“GPO is an agency that performs one of the most vital services for our country: keeping the public informed on the workings of our government. The agency’s record of technological change in the service of our country is second to none in the Federal Government, and a great testament to the skill and dedication of our employees,” said Public Printer Bill Boarman.

About the U.S. Government Printing Office
With 2,200 employees, GPO is the Federal Government’s primary resource for producing, procuring, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, disseminating, and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government in digital and tangible forms. GPO 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. In addition to publication sales, GPO provides for permanent public access to Federal Government information at no charge through GPO’s Federal Digital System ( and through partnerships with approximately 1,220 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program. For more information, please visit Follow GPO on Facebook (, Twitter ( and YouTube (

Source: Press release.