Collins Memorial Library

Government Documents Check-Out Policy


Collins Memorial Library is a selective depository for the official publications of the United States and Washington State governments. These publications, also called documents, are shipped to the library on a regular basis and come in a variety of formats. They may be books, periodicals, microfiche, maps, pamphlets, or electronic products.

Documents not only provide information about the government and its activities, but cover other fields as well. Many have general appeal, such as health, business, crime, science, and education. Others are more technical in nature and include research reports, hearings, laws, and regulations. Governments also publish bibliographies on a broad range of subjects.


Most of the collection is cataloged and listed in SIMON, the library's online catalog and may be searched by author, title, Library of Congress subject heading, keyword, or SuDocs number. Others may be accessed through specialized sources, like Lexis Nexis Congressional, PAIS International, or U.S. Government Publications. GPO ACCESS and Stat-USA are two services that make a number of government publications available on the web.


The bulk of the federal documents collection in paper format is located on the main floor of the library.  State documents are located on the lower level.  A small percentage is found in the reference stacks and the general book collection. Some electronic products are linked on the library's Database A-Z page. CD-ROMs and microforms are filed in cabinets on the lower level.  Selected maps are stored in the map case or document stacks on the main floor.


Both federal and state documents in the general collection and reference stacks are assigned Library of Congress call numbers. Federal publications housed in the documents collection are arranged by issuing agency according to the Superintendent of Documents Classification Scheme (SuDocs) and may be found on the main floor. Washington State Documents are arranged by Washington State Documents Number and are also found on the main floor.

Checkout & Use

With the exception of microfiche and reference, government publications may be checked out by authorized users for four weeks at the Circulation Desk on the main floor. Members of the general public may use documents in the building, purchase a library card to check them out, or borrow them on interlibrary loan through their local public or institutional library. For more information about checkout policies, see the circulation Web page.


For assistance in using or obtaining government documents, drop by the Information Desk during scheduled hours, phone 253.879.3216, or e-mail us.