U.S. Government Publications

Depository Information

The Tennessee State Library and Archives has been a member of the U.S. Government Publishing Office's (GPO)  Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) since 1858 and is one of the six shared-regional depositories in Tennessee, collaborating with the Regional at The University of Memphis, for permanent free access to current and historical Federal Documents. There are 21 Federal depository libraries in Tennessee, located throughout the state.

The State Library is responsible for maintaining permanent collections of pre-1989 documents from the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Library of Congress, and the U.S. Department of War.  In addition, we receive about 33% of all publications offered through the GPO's Federal Depository Library Program, and actively collect and preserve materials deemed relevant to Tennessee history and the State Library's mission.

In addition, the State Library is a Center of Excellence for the Association of Southern Research Libraries' Collaborative Federal Depository Program. Our Center of Excellence focuses are The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and The American Folklife Center. The State Library is working towards complete archival collections of documents from these two sub-agencies. 

Online Resources

Tennessee State Government Publications

From the Arts Commission to the Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee's government agencies provide timely and pertinent data and information to the public. Agencies produce these publications as a public record of its activities. State publications can be a tool for government accountability if Tennessee's citizens read them. Collectively, the archive of these documents record Tennessee's history, natural resources, socioeconomic condition, culture, and quality of life. For a helpful list of all state agencies, please see the Department and Agencies list on the the tn.gov website.

Search our library catalog for Tennessee State Publications here.

Search our collection of electronically-archived Tennessee State Agency websites here.

What is a Publication?

"Publications" take many forms and contain diverse types of information. A publication could be an agency's annual report, a transportation plan to provide service to your town, a research report on Tennessee's schools, or a directory of county officials. Although agencies are increasingly using the Internet to publish this information for you, many continue to produce printed paper documents. Budget-conscious agencies often print small quantities of their publications; it might be difficult to obtain your own copy.

Finding Tennessee Government publications

TSLA makes Tennessee's state documents freely available to the public. Records of TSLA's collection of state documents can be accessed through the State Library's online catalog. Some of these catalog records also include links to their electronic, online versions. Materials published in tangible formats (i.e. books, pamphlets, and CDs) are available for use at TSLA during business hours.

TSLA CATALOG SEARCHING HINTS: To browse documents in our catalog published by a state agency, select Browse then Author. Use the Browse then Title function in the library catalog or to browse for a specific title. Use the Title Browse field for an exact title. If you only know certain words in the title, use the Keyword Search.

Agencies such as the Department of Education and the Department of Human Services are listed in the online catalog as:

Tennessee Dept. of Education
Tennessee Dept. of Human Services

Finding online, electronic Tennessee Government publications

Many materials published by State Agencies are available through the Agency's website. Many of these Agency websites have been archived through the Web archiving tool, Archive-It, and are accessible via the Internet. A list of those agencies and links to their live and archived pages can be found here. Many electronic State publications can be located by searching or browsing through these archived websites.

State Depository Libraries

There are six depositories for Tennessee government publications, providing citizens access to state documents. You can find links to their online catalogs and  their contact information on the list of Tennessee Depository System Libraries. The librarians at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) have worked hard to create records for Tennessee State documents. Even if you are not geographically close you can use the ETSU online catalog to identify hard-to-find publications.

The Law

Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) Title 12 Section 6 establishes TSLA and other libraries as depositories for government publications. This section also defines the responsibility of government agencies to provide the depositories copies of their publications for use by the public.

TCA § 12-6-107. Libraries as depositories for documents - Legislative library - Copies.

(a) The state library at Nashville, the library of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the Cossitt Library at Memphis, and such other libraries as the governor may at any time name by executive order are designated depositories for state documents and for all publications issued by any official of the state.

(b) Upon request of a designated depository of state documents, such depository shall be entitled to receive, without charge, one (1) copy of the bills, resolutions, amendments, daily journals, informational services showing committee actions and the status of pieces of legislation, daily calendars, published committee reports and any official or unofficial published index.

TCA § 12-6-110. Copies to depositories, secretary of state, and other locations.

At the expense of such department, agency, board or commission, the person in charge of making such documents and publications shall furnish or have furnished:

(1) Two (2) copies directly to the librarian or person in charge of each of the depositories;

(2) Upon request, two (2) copies to the secretary of state; and

(3) Two (2) copies to any location or locations specified by the proper governing publications committee created pursuant to the provisions of chapter 7, part 1 of this title.