Collection Management Policies: Government Information

Library Hours

Mon.-Thurs. 8am-Midnight

Fri. 8am-7pm

Sat. 10am-7pm

Sun. Noon-Midnight

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Andrews Library

1140 Beall Avenue

Wooster, OH 44691

Phone: 330-263-2493

Fax: 330-263-2253

I. Introduction

The College of Wooster is located in the 16th Congressional District of Ohio and was designated a selective depository for U.S. government publications in 1966. It is one of five selective depository libraries in the 16th District and receives about 34% of the federal publishing output. Selective depositories are subject to and strive to comply with the Depository Library Program (44 U.S. Code Chapter 19), the Instructions to Depository Libraries (2000), and the Guidelines for the Federal Depository Library Program (1996).

The U.S. government information collection is a valuable and necessary part of The College of Wooster Libraries collection, and its resources are widely used throughout the College and the community. In July 2014, the government information collection contained more than 284,000 titles (474,000 pieces in paper, fiche, CD-ROM, floppy disk, and other electronic formats), most of which have been entered in the online public access catalog of the library. These materials provide both current and historical information on topics of general interest, the federal government, and subjects relating to it.

The library is committed to the overarching principle of providing free and unrestricted public access to government information regardless of format or mode of provision.

II. Purpose

The Government Information Department in The College of Wooster Libraries selects, collects, organizes and provides access to U.S. government information for a user community which includes faculty, administration, staff, and 2,000 students of The College of Wooster as well as residents of the city of Wooster and surrounding counties. The primary user group is the college community at all levels. Junior and senior students, especially those in political science, international relations, economics and business economics, sociology, and history are among the heaviest users of the collection for both coursework and the three-semester required independent study component for all students, which culminates in a senior thesis. We serve a diverse group of community users in a predominately small town rural setting, supplementing and cooperating with the local public library and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and the Agricultural and Technical Institute (ATI) of the Ohio State University system. Corporation executives and staff from such industries as Luk, Wooster Brush, Seaman, Smuckers,  and Smith Dairy consult our government information resources on a regular basis. High school students researching term papers, preparing for speech competitions or for the science fair also use the government information collection regularly.

Government publications are selected for the collection based upon The College of Wooster curriculum, faculty and student research interests, the Independent Study Program, and the needs of the administration, the staff and the community.

III. Selection

General priorities and limitations governing selection of government publications include:

  • Strong subject areas, both current and retrospective, will receive continuing support.
    a. Areas of particular strength and emphasis in the collection will continue to be supported with the selection of documents in those areas through the depository library system. Such areas include, but are not limited to, statistics--both economic and social; Congressional hearings and papers, both retrospective and current; U.S.G.S. publications; the Serial Set; U.S. census publications; education, political science, international relations and urban studies.
  • Duplicate copies will be acquired only for a few heavily used reference titles and where having a circulating copy would help (e.g., Statistical Abstract) or for popular titles in heavy demand (e.g., A Nation at Risk). Generally, we have little need to duplicate materials.

Some titles are still available in both paper and online formats, and electronic access is noted in the catalog record. These titles are, for the most part, titles that are important to provide to our patrons in paper format and we consider the paper format to be our primary copy. As long as online sources are not always accessible and stable, it will be essential to insure permanent public access to all materials by maintaining archival copies in the appropriate format(s) in our library.

  • Review of item number selections is a continuing process, with a zero-based review conducted at least once a year in a diligent effort to shape and prune our selection profile. Cancellation or selection of an item number is done at the discretion of the government information librarians after appropriate consultation with faculty, departmental library agents, and/or the library staff, and is done in accordance with the Instructions.
  • Surveys and other announcements of new depository items available for selection are evaluated and decisions made in timely fashion.
  • Choice of format for titles available in paper, microfiche, or other electronic formats will be determined by the nature of the information, the amount of space it will need, and its use in our collection.
  • Titles not generally selected for our library are highly technical reports, pamphlets (except Social Security Administration and National Park Service), most maps, general publications, handbooks, manuals, guides, posters, ephemeral material, and titles where frequency or size cannot be determined (although subject matter is considered).
  • A title missing and presumed lost, which has been identified through inventory or by other means, is searched and then if deemed important to replace, the title will be ordered through either G.P.O. or a commercial book dealer.
  • Replacements are sought for damaged items if the title needs to be replaced and if repair is not possible.
  • Superseded titles are weeded on a regular basis in accordance with the Instructions, Guidelines, and the List of Superseded Depository Documents issued by G.P.O.
  • Withdrawal of documents which have been kept for the mandatory five-year retention period will be carefully considered on the basis of this collection development policy and will be carried out in accordance with the policy and procedures outlined in the Instructions.

IV. Cooperation

We strive to cooperate with the Wayne County Public Library, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Library (OARDC), the Agricultural Technical Institute (A.T. I.), the libraries of the OhioLINK Consortium and the Five Colleges of Ohio Consortium to which The College of Wooster Libraries belong, and other libraries in our immediate region. This cooperation may include cooperative cataloging and collection development, resource sharing and interlibrary loan, selective housing, training, reference service, and referrals. We, in turn, rely upon the subject specialization of the OARDC library and the more complete holdings of our regional full depository, the State Library of Ohio in Columbus, to supply us with titles we do not have through Interlibrary Loan.

Within The College of Wooster Libraries, we work closely with the rest of the library staff to provide reference service for patrons in the Government Information Department as well as for those using the reference and general collections. Because of our close proximity to the reference collection, it is not necessary to duplicate the supplementary and complementary sources from that collection in the Government Information Department. Several frequently used government publications (e.g. County and City Data Book, Statistical Abstract, U.S. Government Manual, Handbook of Labor Statistics) are located in the government information section of the ready reference shelves adjacent to the central reference desk in the general reference area.

The basic indexing tools for the government information collection are located on the main floor (Gault 1) at the end of the reference collection, e.g., The Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and the Index to U.S. Government Periodicals, among others. The Library also subscribes to the online version of the GPO Monthly Catalog via OCLC as well as ProQuest Congressional.  Most of the basic indexing tools listed above and many official government web sites and electronic sources are accessible from any campus-networked computer through the Government Resources web pages or the Library web pages.

V. Care and Maintenance

The policies for maintenance of the Government Information Department collection will be consistent with the policies for maintaining the rest of the library's collections and with the of Guidelines for the Depository Library System.

Items designated by the government information librarians to be of lasting value to the collection, the documents reference collection, and no less than 1/3 of the circulating collection will be tattle-taped in order to insure their security.

Bound volumes are sent to Technical Services for preparation, including call number labels and tattle-tapes. Commercial binding is done on a selective basis and includes several periodical titles and monographs.

Mending, tip-ins, pockets and other repairs to the U.S. government publications are made, as necessary, in the Technical Services Department. Such items should be deemed to have long-term value to the collection and inappropriate for microformat replacement.

For those items which are beyond repair and which need to be replaced, attempts will be made to find replacement copies commercial vendors or duplicate exchange (See Guidelines). Phase box construction, preservation copying or other appropriate conservation measures will be used by the Technical Services staff to conserve those items which need protection but which can not be completely repaired or replaced, and are of permanent value to the collection.

In the event of damage to and U.S. government publications, notification of the event and extent of any damage to documents will be communicated to the U.S. Government Publishing Office and to the Regional Coordinator at the State Library of Ohio.

Reference works, certain periodical titles, other items which are used frequently, receive heavy use at the copier, or have permanent value to the collection are candidates for commercial binding.

If they meet the library's stated guidelines, rare and valuable documents and many of the titles listed in the 1909 Checklist which are held in the government information collection will be sent to Special Collections. If possible, these materials will not be labeled, targeted, or bar-coded except on acid-free strips.

VI. Indexes and Bibliographies

A continuing commitment is made to collect and make available governmental and commercial indexes and bibliographies in print or other electronic forms which will provide easier and more detailed access to government information. ProQuest Congressional and Digital Serial Set, ProQuest Statistical Insight, Data-Planet, FBIS via Readex, and Andriot's Guide to U.S. Government Publications.

U.S. government information reference tools are located in the document reference area and on the document ready reference shelves near the general reference collection on Gault 1 as well as in the microform area and the electronic collection on Andrews Lower 2. There are also a number of online indexing databases for government information, provided through the Government Resources web page or the Library web page under Databases by Title. Every effort will be made to supply both historical and current coverage as stated in the Guidelines.

VII. Interlibrary Loan

When users from the college community need a government publication not held by The College of Wooster Libraries, we will make every effort to locate and borrow it following interlibrary loan procedures. Upon request, we lend government publications from the government information collection following The College of Wooster Libraries interlibrary loan procedures. In the case of out-of-state requests, we may suggest that the requesting library contact their regional or a depository library closer to them, unless it is evident that the requester has already tried these sources. Suggestions for source libraries can be made by consulting the GPO Depository Union List of Item Selections located in the document microfiche cabinets on Andrews 1; the Item Lister on the FDLP site. Documents in microfiche format and portable microfiche readers circulate locally, and microfiche can be borrowed on interlibrary loan.

For ILL purposes, we strive to cooperate with local libraries, OhioLINK libraries, and the Five Colleges of Ohio libraries in particular.

For users outside of the college community, we will verify a document and locate it, if possible, but the library's interlibrary loan policy states that the patron should be referred to the public library for interlibrary loan service. Exceptions may be made in unusual circumstances.

VIII. Maps

Generally, we will not select item numbers that specifically distribute maps. Exceptions are the CIA maps, some agricultural maps, and several U.S.G.S. map series specifically identified as useful by the Geology Department. Depository maps and atlases are received and processed in the department and housed in the document map cases and a file cabinet on Andrews Lower 2. Most non-governmental atlases and geographical reference tools are housed in the Library of Congress reference and circulating collections.

IX. Circulation

With few exceptions, materials in the government information collection circulate freely and under the same policies governing the entire library collections. Materials in the document reference collection, CD-ROMs and floppy disks, and document periodicals do not circulate. Exceptions may be made in unusual circumstances at the discretion of the librarians or staff.

X. Public Service Policy

Reference service for documents is provided by the Government Information Department staff, reference librarians and student reference assistants Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. - 10 p.m during the academic year. These hours may vary during academic year breaks, in the summer months, and during summer school.

Through on-going communication with the Wayne County Public Library, their library staff is able to refer patrons to the College of Wooster Libraries for the use of documents not available at the public library and we, in turn, can refer patrons to the public library collection in their areas of strength, such as business reference materials.

The Government Information Department contributes to the library newsletter, when published.

Our commitment to library instruction ranges from first year students to Independent Study seminars, staff members, and community groups. Instruction helps to create an awareness of the importance, variety, and usefulness of government information and is a service available to all of our users.

XI. Revisions of Collection Development Policy Statement

The Collection Development Policy Statement should be reviewed periodically by the government information librarians to update and make any necessary changes. Major revisions in the policy should also be discussed with the Director of Libraries, the Library Council, and other groups which might be affected by those revisions.

BLB 5/84; rev. 4/96, 12/99, 6/2000 MSP

see also the Goverment Information Department's
Mission and Goals
Electronic Government Information Service Guidelines