GPO opens redesigned federal bookstore

By Dorothy Ramienski
Internet Editor
Federal News Radio

The Government Printing Office has opened its newly redesigned bookstore.

It sells only federal documents — maybe from your agency. And it’s the only bookstore that does it in the nation’s capital.

The renovation was done entirely by federal employees.

Davita Vance-Cooks is GPO’s managing director of publication and information sales and says she and everyone else in her office is really excited about the grand re-opening.

“We’ve created a browse-and-buy atmosphere for our customers, and we’ve also created exhibit space to educate customers about the history of printing and GPO’s role in producing documents of our government for the past 150 years.”

She says GPO’s own graphic designers designed the space, the master craftsmen built the bookcases and shelves and facility engineers performed all of the structural installations.

“One of the things that we’re so excited about with this bookstore is that it is definitely a showcase of our talent, our expertise and craftsmanship. Most people don’t realize we have that kind of talent in the Government Printing Office.”

Vance-Cooks says, now that the new store has opened, federal employees have a one-stop shop for all of their government publication needs.

“We offer thousands of titles from federal agencies. . . . collectively I would say that our publications reflect the heart, the soul and the pulse of government information. Most people also don’t realize that we offer publications for young readers.”

The includes GPO’s first ever comic book, Squeaks and the History of Printing, which was written and illustrated by agency employees. (Squeaks, the mouse, helps children to understand the history of printing, she adds.)

There are broader historical implications, as well. Vance-Cooks says the GPO started to sell publications back in 1895, and has had retail space since 1921. One can still find older publications to purchase, but the bookstore also serves as a type of museum for those interested in government documents.

And while Vance-Cooks says everyone is welcome to visit the new store, she acknowledges that it is 2010 and says the GPO can accommodate online shoppers, too.

“We also have an online bookstore . . . and we’re about to get into the e-pub market, or the e-book market. We recognize the need to have a balance of the bookstore, as well as offering digital content.”

The new store is located at 710 North Capitol Street, NW.