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Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program

[ PDF version ]  [ Back Issues ]

January 15, 2003

GP 3.16/3-2:24/01
(Vol. 24, no. 01)

Readers Exchange

FDLP Promotion Pamphlet Produced in Michigan

Submitted by Ann Marie Sanders
Head, Government Documents
Michigan Dept. of History, Arts, and Libraries

In 2002, the Michigan Council of Federal Depository Libraries initiated the preparation of a pamphlet to promote depository libraries in the state. Michael McDonnell of Western Michigan University, a Council member, did all of the work. Michigan depositories will send the pamphlet to non-depositories in their areas and perhaps coordinate other versions by type of depository (all the law schools, etc.). The Council is encouraging Michigan depositories to include the text on their web sites and to use the pamphlet as an inspiration for other promotional efforts.

[The text below is formatted in columns on both sides of one sheet for the pamphlet.]

Federal Government Information

Available in Michigan Libraries

The Federal Depository Library System

For over 150 years the United States Government has distributed informative publications to the American people through a system of depository libraries operated by the Government Printing Office (GPO). There are 45 of these libraries located throughout Michigan. For a depository near you check the back of this brochure or see a complete list at: <http://www.libofmich.lib.mi.us/services/feddoclibs.html>. While most depository libraries do not receive all the information published by the federal government, you will find important and useful material in each of their collections.

Examples of Material Found in a Depository Library

The federal government produces a wide range of publications from cookbooks and child care information to scientific and economic reports. Some examples of material found in a depository collection include:


Census Information

The population counts that result from the decennial census are just one example of numerous statistical resources produced by the government.


Laws and Regulations

Laws are the end result of the legislative process and are fundamental to the running of the country. Depository collections not only contain the official text of these laws but frequently the reasoning of the legislators who passed them. Regulations are promulgated by the executive branch of government in order to enforce the laws passed by the legislative branch.


Tax Forms

Staff at depository libraries can help patrons locate unusual tax forms, although they cannot give advice on completing them.

Availability of Material

Some of the libraries in the depository program select to receive a lot of the material available and some select a small portion. Individual libraries determine what they will receive based on the needs of patrons in their communities. Two libraries in the state receive everything that is available: The Detroit Public Library and The Library of Michigan.

All depository libraries make the majority of their collections available through interlibrary loan, and the collections are open to patrons who come to a depository library in person. Some depository libraries keep their government documents forever and some choose to keep only current materials. It is good to check with the library before visiting.

GPO Access

The Government Printing Office (GPO) is distributing more official government information via the Internet each year through a free service called GPO Access. GPO access is available at <http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/index.html>. A list of the databases contained within GPO Access is at: <http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/alphabet.html>.


Web Resources

There are a number of ways to locate government documents. The two primary methods are indexes/catalogs of the material and specialized Internet search engines.


The Government Printing Office provides a catalog of government publications from 1994 to the present at: <http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/locators/cgp/index.html>. Many of the records appearing in this catalog have links to full text material available on the web.

Residents of Michigan can access the GPO database on FirstSearch at: <http://www.mel.org/accessmich/>. The GPO database is a catalog of government documents published from 1976 to the present.

If you are looking for government documents published before 1976 please contact one of the depository libraries in the state.

If you choose to visit a depository library to find a copy of any documents you identified in one of the indexes, it is best to print out the entire entry for the document you are interested in before you go. Remember, because of the selection and retention patterns of the various libraries, finding a publication in an index does not mean that an individual library will have that document. Always check with the library to make sure what you are interested in is available.

Search Engines

Google Uncle Sam searches only government and military sites on the web. Google Uncle Sam is available at: <http://www.google.com/unclesam>.

FirstGov is a gateway to government information sources. You can use a search engine to find things but FirstGov has attempted to direct users to the most often requested material from its home page. FirstGov is located at: <www.FirstGov.org>.

If you hear a government agency has issued a report you can begin your search by going directly to the agency’s page. You can search for agency pages at: <http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/locators/agency/index.html>.



A Depository Library Near You Is:

For additional copies of this brochure, contact the library listed above.