Government Information and Maps Department Policies

Access and Service

As a state and federal document depository library, policies and procedures at Florida Atlantic University follow those provided by the Library Programs Service of the United States Government Printing Office and by the State Library of the Florida Department of State. The following policies and procedures are extracted from Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Programs, the Federal Depository Library Manual (supplementary guidance), and the Florida Administrative Code Chapter lB-6.

Free access as defined by the GPO means that any member of the general public can physically handle and use a government document at the Library without impediments.

Free access to the resources of the documents collection by the general public is a fundamental obligation that all Federal Depository Libraries share. Access policies, posting of signs, and public service hours for depository patrons must conform to this requirement. Depository libraries must ensure that any library wide security or access policy does not hinder public access to depository materials. All depository materials must be housed in such a way as to facilitate preservation and access. With this as guidance, some government publications may be placed "On Reserve." These publications are not to be restricted from use in the Library by the general public.

Through the Libraries' online public access catalog (OPAC), Mango, and through its membership in SEFLIN, LYRASIS, OCLC, the resources of the depository are shared on a local, state, regional, national, and international level.

As part of the federal depository library electronic transition, the Government Information and Maps Department also offers free public access to electronic information provided by the Government Printing Office. Internet access is provided through the department home page, via computer workstations throughout the library and at branch campus libraries, and through mediated assistance at computer workstations in the Government Information and Maps Department. Downloading is available at all stations; ftp/email/printing is available at many of the public workstations.

Access to and assistance with tangible electronic products selected by the department will be provided in a timely manner (i.e. within two working days.) If the tangible product requires commercially purchased software and accompanying technical assistance, then the department will circulate the electronic product to the requestor. The requestor will be responsible for replacement costs. Due to security and the high volume use, the Library does not provide disk space on publicly available computers for temporary storage of electronic government information. Guides for frequently requested government sites are posted on the Government Information and Maps Department's website. Help sheets and technical documentation, as well as personal assistance, are available for both tangible and Internet government information. The Library's Reference & Instructional Services Department, including the government information librarian, provide open training in using Internet resources on a regular basis.

  • The Government Information and Maps Department has posted signage around the paper collection shelves identifying URL’s for general agency WEB pages or for specific titles.
  • Telefacsimile service is available on campus. The Government Information and Maps Department will fax copies of depository materials (paper/microfiche) up to 10 pages per requestor per day at no cost.
  • The Library has several recognized focal points for inquiries about government information collection:


General library circulation policies apply to government information collection. Collection is distinguished from the regular library collection by the prefix "DOC". Most government publications housed within the Government Information Collection circulate to those with a valid Florida Atlantic University Library card through the Library's online circulation system. The circulation period corresponds to that already in effect for the library's regular circulating collection.

Government Information Collection that does not normally circulate include the following:

  • Microform, Maps, Electronic Products
  • Those items stamped "For Reference Use Only
  • Those marked "Doc Per" before the documents call number.

These exceptions may circulate on a case by case basis with special and conservatively administered permission of the documents staff or by the Reference Librarian on duty. They can be checked out through the manual form system available either at the Reference Desk or the Government Information and Maps office.


The Library provides facilities for the use of government information collection microforms within the Library, including self operating microform copiers and readers. The Library has purchased retrospective collections of commercially produced government information collection microforms to enhance the collection.

Reference/Government Documents

The Reference Desk is the primary reference service point for assistance using basic government information collection (federal and state).  Reference service offered to members of the general public using the depository are comparable to the reference service given to the library's primary patrons. Ready reference service, indexes and other tools which assist patrons in finding government information are available to depository patrons.

Patrons are able to locate specific materials in the depository by title and/or class number or other access points. Staff locates and mounts electronic products and provides documentation on available workstations.  Since most depository libraries are selective and, therefore not recipients of all government information materials disseminated through the Federal Depository Library Program, the documents staff is familiar with resources of neighboring depositories and can make appropriate referrals.

Assistance is provided in finding resources in the collection, including specific titles; location of requested publications in the library; answers to reference questions or a referral to a source or place where answers can be found; guidance on the use of the collection, including the principal available reference sources, catalogs, abstracts, indexes, and other aids; availability of additional resources in the region; information regarding borrowing documents from a regional or other library. Self operating photocopiers are provided for patron convenience.

Statistical information where the information is straight forward from a table and easily retrieved may be given. The requestor of lengthy statistical questions will be encouraged to come into the Library to retrieve the answer(s).  The Department encourages appointments for consultations, when the information sought requires more in-depth instruction and assistance in the use of the Government Information collections.

Interlibrary Loan/Interlibrary Loan of Government Information Publications

The Library is part of a network capable of offering computer access to the holdings of other depository regional and national libraries. The library offers ILL service to faculty, staff, and students of Florida Atlantic University and is able to refer the general public to their resident libraries with information on Interlibrary Loan Service for government information publications not available in the library. The government information staff will attempt to identify locations of government information in other depository libraries.

Interlibrary loan (ILL) of government publications is an integral part of the responsibilities incurred by a federal/state documents depository library when it becomes an official depository.

On the federal level, since few depositories have comprehensive Government information collections, cooperation with other depository libraries is essential. ILL is  regarded as an "outreach" activity in ensuring that the general public has access to depository publications. Thus, the Florida Atlantic University Library will lend government publications via the ALA guided ILL system. The Library will also borrow for its clientele. The general public not affiliated with Florida Atlantic University (and not having a valid FAU Library card) will be referred to other libraries within the Federal Depository Library Program or to their affiliated library for interlibrary loan service as recommended in the Instructions to Depository Libraries.

On the state level, the Florida Atlantic University Library receives two copies (when available) of state documents from the State Library of Florida and is identified as a Interlibrary Loan provider of State of Florida documents.

Circulation of Government Information Publications

  • Paper / Print Formats
    • Most federal and state government publications circulate through the Library's online circulation system and according to the Library's policies and procedures. Non circulating publications are those with "DOC PER" prefacing the documents call numbers or those stamped "FOR REFERENCE USE ONLY". The general public not affiliated with Florida Atlantic University (and not having a valid FAU Library card) may use the materials in-house or will be referred to their respective libraries for interlibrary loan service. Self-service photocopiers are located throughout the Library.
  • Microform
    • Microforms do not circulate. The Library has provided self-service microform photocopiers. Documents on microfilm do not circulate.
  • Maps
    • USGS / NIMA(DMA) topographic/quadrangle maps do not circulate. USGS maps received in the manila/brown folders do circulate.
  • Electronic Products
    • Selected electronic products (i.e. compact disks) circulate. Older issues of serial electronic products and those serial electronic products not identified for permanent retention may be allowed to circulate at the discretion of the Documents Librarian.
  • Special Exceptions
    • Should a special exception be given to circulate non circulating government publications, the "Non Circulating Items Release" form must be completed and filed either in the Government Documents Office (LY 109) or at the Reference Desk. For electronic products, the "Non Circulating Items Release" form must be completed and kept by the Government Documents Department.

Census/Block Tract Maps

The Florida Atlantic University Government Information and Maps Department received via the Federal Depository Library Program paper copies of census tract/block numbering areas for Florida only. These maps provided by the Federal Depository Library Program are for use by anyone requesting to use them with or without a library card. Additional copies have been purchased from the Bureau of the Census and are housed in the Government Information and Maps Office.

Prior to the decision of the Bureau of the Census to provide 1990 census maps, the Florida Atlantic University S.E. Wimberly Library purchased 1990 Tract and Block maps for the following counties:

  • Broward
  • Indian River
  • Martin
  • Okeechobee
  • Palm Beach
  • St. Lucie

The Library has also purchased 2000 Tract and Block maps for Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties.

These maps were NOT provided through the Federal Depository Library Program. They were purchased with State of Florida funds. Therefore, the following policies and procedures are in effect:

  1. Census block/tract maps DO NOT circulate outside the library. They must be used in-house  with no  more  than two (2) folders out to one   patron at one given time. The patron must be clearly told that the maps DO NOT leave the library.
  2. Identification of the patron must be presented to remove the maps from the Documents workroom. Forms of identification include library card, drivers license, etc
  3. The patron must sign the attached sheet legibly after presenting identification to remove the maps from the Documents workroom.
  4. Maps are to be returned to the Documents workroom where they will be checked back in. The Documents staff will check the envelopes to verify return of the contents in the correct envelopes.
  5. Exceptions: see the Documents Librarian.

Replacement of Lost Government Publications By Patrons

Any depository materials which are lost, tattered or damaged,  will be subject to the same replacement policy that the library maintains for non-government materials.

A government publication in the Florida Atlantic University is defined as that product which bears an identifying stamp of the Florida Atlantic University Government Information and Mpas Department or which in its uniqueness would identify it as an official product of a federal or state government agency. This would include U.S. and Florida publications in a variety of formats (i.e. paper, microform, floppy diskette, or compact disk).

If a patron requests to replace a lost government publication at the patron's own expense and effort, the decision to accept this request will be made by the Government Information Librarian. Should a document be replaced by the patron, there will be a processing charge. This charge approximates the costs incurred for bibliographic verification, physical processing, online corrections, etc. completed by library staff (e.g., cataloging, documents, circulation). Any replacement should be exact in bibliographic detail and quality of the original document. If a document can be replaced by the library, the patron will be assessed the cost of the replacement and a processing charge. Replacement costs may vary from costs listed in the  GPO Online Bookstore. Charges for compact disks vary from $35 to several hundred dollars.

If a government publication is returned damaged, the Government Information Librarian will determine whether the document should be repaired or replaced.

Selection of Items

Publications are selected according to the needs of the local area and the 22nd Congressional district, keeping in mind, the capability of proper custodial care of those items selected. A detailed Collection Development Policy for government information is available.


Opportunities and resources will be provided for the initial and continuing education of staff on depository responsibilities and operations. In order to ensure an efficient and effective depository operation, depository staff members will be provided the opportunity to attend local and national meetings devoted to depository and related library issues.

Questions regarding public service policies should be directed to Jeff Sundquist, Assistant Dean for Research and Collections.

Last modified at 04/11/2018 - 09:09 AM