Collection Development Guidelines for U. S. Government Publications

Depository Mission Statement

The George & Helen Ladd Library at Bates College was designated a Federal Depository on December 14, 1883, by the Honorable Nelson Dingley, Jr. The primary mission is to support the general collection activities of Ladd Library, which serves the Bates community. In accordance with the requirements defined in the Instructions to Depository Libraries, Guidelines for the Depository Library Program, the Federal Depository Library Manual, and Legal Requirements & Program Regulations (June 2011), the depository also serves and provides access to the government information needs of the local communities and Maine’s Second Congressional District. test this word

Communities Served

Bates College is a small, private, residential, liberal arts and sciences college founded in 1855. It is a coeducational, nonsectarian, and residential institution. The College has always admitted students without regard to race, religion, national origin or gender and was the first co-educational college in New England. There are approximately 1700 undergraduate students. Approximately 215 faculty members teach over thirty fields of study. Major programs include economics, environmental studies, politics, psychology, chemistry, education, biology, English, music, and interdisciplinary and area studies. College patrons use the following documents: statistical publications, Census information, Congressional hearings, Smithsonian, government periodicals, laws, regulations, maps, and health, energy, environmental, educational, geological, and criminal justice materials.

The Lewiston/Auburn area, 35 miles north of Portland and 140 miles north of Boston, hosts three U.S. Congressional Offices. Lewiston, Maine’s second largest city, has a population of approximately 36,592 (2010 Census). The city of Auburn, across the Androscoggin River from Lewiston, has a population of approximately 23,055 (2010 Census). These two cities, called the “twin cities,” “L-A” or “L/A” are closely intertwined. Most employment is in the manufacturing and retail trade. In addition, the area supports two major health care centers, two public libraries, and the campuses of the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston Auburn College, and Kaplan University. The depository has close ties with the health care centers and public libraries, who often refer patrons to Ladd Library for government information. The teachers, researchers, lawyers, health care providers, journalists, business people, and others who use our collection find laws, regulations, census information, statistical publications, and the educational, health, and environmental material most helpful.

The Depository collects materials from many federal departments, branches, and agencies, receiving approximately 18-19% of the U.S. publications offered through the depository program. Due to our early designation as a depository, the documents collection has many historical publications, including early reports in the Serial Set. The collection is an excellent source for current statistical information. Other collection strengths include Congressional hearings in paper, Census materials, Geological Survey and Smithsonian publications, laws, regulations, government periodicals, and foreign affairs and criminal justice material.

Collection Development

Ladd Library is actively transitioning from a tangible, paper environment to an online, digital environment. The Documents Librarian is responsible for the selection of government documents and related materials. Reference librarians and college faculty are consulted as part of the selection process. Coordination is also done with the Colby and Bowdoin Libraries. Selection is generally done at the item number level, but may also be done on specific titles. The primary consideration regarding selection is the Library’s subject scope, and curriculum and research needs. Other considerations include frequency of use, space/storage capacity, frequency of publication, cost of providing access, resource sharing capabilities, and the library’s prior holdings. The Documents Librarian determines what format is most appropriate when a choice is available.

Materials in the Suggested Core Collection are strong candidates for selection. Other selection tools include:

  • List of Classes of U.S. Government Publications Available for Selection by Depository Libraries
  • Federal Depository Library Manual (Appendixes A-C)
  • Depository Shipping Lists
  • New items which arrive in depository shipments
  • Consumer Information Catalog
  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)
  • Documents to the People
  • Journal of Government Information
  • Government Information Quarterly
  • GPO Bookstore
  • News media
  • Item Lister

Each year the Documents Librarian conducts a zero-based collection review of all selected items. This review takes into consideration Interlibrary loan requests, circulation statistics, reference questions answered and unanswered, and bibliographies from different sources. Notable documents lists are also reviewed. Reference Department staff are also consulted heavily.

The Documents Librarian also selectively purchases items that are not offered through the Depository Library Program for the collection from the GPO Bookstore, and other sources. Recommendations for purchase may come from students, faculty, staff, and others.

Resource Sharing

Ladd Library is part of a consortium with the libraries at Bowdoin and Colby Colleges (CBB). The three work together through information and resource-sharing for selection and deselection. We have a long history of collaborative work together. Bowdoin College Library became a depository on March 21, 1884, and the Colby Library on March 23, 1884. Bates College selects the most item numbers (ca. 18-19%), followed by Bowdoin (ca. 14%) and Colby (ca. 9%).

Coordination with other depositories in Maine, including Bangor Public Library in Bangor and the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, is also done on a less formal basis. Documents Data Miner lets us immediately view our selections, and provides us with an overall “look” at our collection receipts.

All depositories in Maine rely on the comprehensive collection of the regional depository library at Fogler Library at the University of Maine at Orono, which selects and retains all depository publications. Materials are primarily borrowed and lent through MaineCat, a service of Maine Info Net.

Collection Maintenance

Documents acquired through the depository program remain the property of the U.S. government, and are maintained in accordance with the guidelines contained in the Instructions to Depository Libraries and Legal Requirements & Program Regulations (June 2011). We keep an accurate accounting of all depository publications at the piece level. All incoming documents from 1998 are cataloged in the Library’s Catalog. Documents are marked with the depository property stamp, the shipping list number, and the date they are received.

Loose-leaf or damaged publications are reviewed and considered for repair or binding at the discretion of the Documents Librarian and the Preservation Assistant. Historical publications such as the Serial Set have been treated every five years with leather dressing or boxed for stability.

Examination of the collection for weeding is an on-going process. Superceded documents are withdrawn as new items arrive, following guidelines in the Superseded List: U.S. Documents That May Be Discarded By Depository Libraries. Other documents are candidates for weeding after five years’ retention. Titles that are no longer needed are offered to other depository libraries in Maine; some of lasting value are offered nationally through the National Needs and Offers List.

Government publications are maintained and protected on a basis equal to other library materials. The Library maintains a complete and up-to-date procedures manual for maintaining government publications.


All government publications are accessible for public use. Most circulate outside the building. The majority of the collection is located on open shelving on the ground floor, arranged by Superintendent of Documents classification numbers. Selected paper government periodicals are arranged alphabetically by title with other periodicals. The collection is available all hours the Library is open. Reference services, Internet access, photocopiers and printers are available on the main floor. Reference staff will assist with printing options.

Titles received after March 1998 appear in the Library Catalog. Older titles are slowly added to the Catalog. Several major indexes that identify government publications are available to users. Assistance in using the library catalog, the government indexes, and in locating government publications is available at the Reference Desk. Subject Research guides emphasize the collection, and government information is incorporated into the library instruction program. The Documents Librarian frequently consults with the other Reference Librarians in writing and teaching. The Documents Librarian is available for individualized consultation. Tours, and talks are avialable upon request.

The Library provides access to government information electronically through the Library Catalog and through web pages. There is direct public access to FDsys.

Review of Guidelines

These guidelines are subject to periodic review and revision by the Documents Librarian, and the Reference & Instructional Services staff.