Government Documents Policy

I. Mission

The John Dewey Library of Northern Vermont University-Johnson (formerly Johnson State College), which is located in the U.S. Congressional District At Large, was the first of the Vermont State Colleges to become a Senate-designated Federal Depository in 1955. The mission of the Library is to serve the students who comprise the undergraduate and graduate populations of Northern Vermont University and to meet the scholarly and professional development needs of its faculty and staff. By Virtue of the library’s location in rural north central Vermont, it also functions as a public library for Lamoille County. As such, we promote free access to our collections for all segments of our user population.

II. Mandate

In accordance with requirements defined in the Federal Depository Library Manual Supplement 2: Guidelines for the Federal Depository Library Program, February, 1996, the Library collects government documents to support the interests of the general public as will as the academic community it serves. Citizens in Lamoille County are either employed in the tourism and service industries, agriculture, or engaged in the provision of health services and schooling on various levels, with Northern Vermont University-Johnson representing the high end of the educational spectrum. Small business ownership is perceived as critical to economic stability in this and the other 13 counties throughout the state.

Although we tend to think geographically with respect to our community of users, it must be noted that as a State College library, we encourage access by Vermonters who are often willing to travel long distances to use our collections. It is not uncommon to extend borrowing privileges to citizens outside of our county’s boundaries.

III. Methods and Objectives

To meet the needs of our constituents and to help fulfill our role as a public library presence in Lamoille County, collection development activities are concentrated in these subject areas: Agriculture, health, business, education, environment, legislation, consumer affairs. Consequently, special attention will be paid to publications issued by the following agencies, departments, and government establishments:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Service
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of State
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • National Foundation of the Arts and the Humanities
  • Small Business Administration

*Future revisions of this policy will delineate subject areas, collection development intensity levels, and publication types/formats as suggested in Section 4 “Subject Areas and Collection Arrangement” in the Federal Depository Library Manual Supplement: Collection Development Guidelines for Selective Depositories, September 1994.

Selection responsibility is distributed among reference staff who serve all segments of the user population and who are knowledgeable of patron needs and the resources available in this library and elsewhere. In addition to annual reviews of item selections using the List of Classes of the United States government Publications Available for Selection by Depository Libraries, the “Suggested Core Collection Annotated for Small to Medium Public Libraries and Academic Libraries and for All Law Libraries”, the Publications Reference File and Subject Bibliographies, librarians will respond to GPO surveys, selecting new items as they are available and when they meet collection development goals. Non-depository selection tools include these sources:

  • Sears and Moody, Using Government Information Sources Print and Electronic, 2nd ed., 1994
  • PAIS International in Print
  • Library Journal’s “Notable Documents of (Year)” sponsored by ALA’s GODORT

The Library currently selects all item numbers listed in the “Basic Collection” in Appendix C in the FDLP manual. Moreover, the top 200 item selection checklist has been used in the past as a comparative measure to gauge the viability of our collection.

Our objective is to maintain an instructional or working collection with an emphasis on selecting current materials. Referrals to area depositories will be made for research and use of historical or retrospective sources.

IV. Weeding and Maintenance 

The Library adheres to the guidelines in the Instructions to Depository Libraries and strives to maintain the Federal Depository material entrusted to its care. All depository items are marked with a three part stamp and SuDoc number. Separate shelving arrangements for selected reference sources that are catalogd in DDC are listed in the procedures manual. Annotations on the shelf list cards for those sources indicate location and disposition while they are temporarily available at the reference desk. A separate file cabinet for pamphlets has been purchased an the item location is noted on SCOLAR. Replacements for heavily used documents or non depository items will be made through the use of an established GPO Deposit Account #122632-3.

Items will be withdrawn from the collection according to this plan:

  • Superseded documents after receipt of new edition or update and according to the “List of Superseded Documents ,” Appendix C of Instructions to Depository Libraries.
  • Reports based on the item inventory date, and thus meeting the five-year holding date, may be requested from the VSCS Bibliographic Database Coordinator to generate a list for possible deselection.
  • Documents held five years that no longer meet collection development criteria will be itemized on discard lists and sent to the Regional Depository at the University of Maine, Orono, Maine.

V. Resource Sharing and Access

Linked through our online library system, to the collections of the other Vermont State Colleges, the University of Vermont, Norwich University, Middlebury College, St. Michael’s College, Trinity College of Vermont and the State of Vermont Department of Libraries, the Library engages in very high volume ILL transactions utilizing electronic mail requests placed between libraries via interlibrary loan software. On a national and international level, the library has participated in interlibrary loan as a member of OCLC since May 1985. Within this networked external environment, identification, location and retrieval of documents not held by this library has improved increasingly as more libraries have gone online, helping us to meet our obligation as a Depository Library in supplying government information to other libraries and depositories—a function of our resource sharing imperative.

Contacts are maintained with the local USDA Agricultural Extension Agent in Morrisville and the Lamoille County Planning Commission a referral sources for mapping and industry statistics for the area.

Public services staff monitor the GOVDOC-L listserv, attend meetings of the Government Publications Libraries of New England (GPLNE) when possible and visit depository libraries in the region to help keep abreast of access issues, collections, and personnel.

Internet access is maintained with the development of pathfinders and guides to the literature incorporating vital document sources necessary to the search process; promotion of the Library’s status as a Federal Depository is expected and delivered in the bibliographic instruction sessions offered by librarians. Area teachers are encouraged to bring classes on field trips during semester breaks so that their students are exposed to the realm of academic libraries.

The Depository collection is housed in compact moveable shelving in open stacks accessible to the public. With the exception of standard reference sources (designated Ref. Doc. material code) and periodicals, government documents circulate without restriction to primary user groups and the community.

Continuous revision of this policy will be necessary to incorporate new technologies that will undoubtedly see libraries emerging as clearinghouses and directing patron inquiries to appropriate sources regardless of format.