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Government Resources: Public Access Policy For Govt. Docs.

Federal and state sources for information


Simpson Library is one of five selective Federal Depository Libraries within the 1st Congressional District of Virginia, served by a regional depository located at the University of Virginia. Simpson Library is also a designated State Depository Library for Virginia publications in the State Publications Depository Program. The Library of Virginia is “the official repository of state publications for the Commonwealth,” cited in §42.1-92 et seq. of the Code of Virginia.

Simpson Library provides free access, regardless of format, to all Federal and State government information products selected for its collection. These formats include but are not limited to: online, paper, microfiche, microfilm, CD-ROMs, and disks. Equipment is available to utilize the various formats of government information. Simpson Library makes government information usable for all users, including those with disabilities.

Any member of the general public may use Federal government information products in all formats free of charge without impediments. The general public has access to resources in the collection through the online catalog (Alma/Quest), direct browsing of open shelves, and all public service points. These service points include staffed Reference and Access Services desks and public computer workstations. There is a designated guest computer located near the Reference Desk that can be used to access government information.

The library’s web page is updated continuously to facilitate online access. Online access is available off-site through our library’s home page, Government Information web page, and through our online catalog. 


Simpson Library technically processes new receipts for access within the time frame specified by the FDLP (Federal Depository Library Program). Timely processing of materials allows the general public to have ready access to all parts of the collection. Simpson Library identifies and selects resources that meet the needs of our primary users and patrons within our Congressional District, in cooperation with neighboring depository libraries. See our Collection Development Policy. We work in conjunction with our regional depository to offer reciprocal services, maintain Federal resources for the minimum period of five years from receipt, and obtain the regional library’s permission prior to withdrawing resources older than five years. All information products remain Federal Government property and must be withdrawn from public access according to FDLP policy.


Simpson Library provides reference assistance to the general public. Our professional staff expertise supports research in government information in all formats. We promote government information by offering government information class assignments, displays, and identifying ourselves as a depository library by door logo and on the library website. The regional library works with and supports our depository mandate to provide free access. This mandate is met through the availability of online access, interlibrary loan, and reference assistance. Also, the regional librarian communicates frequently within the depository community through various listservs.

While government information in all formats is made available to the general public at no charge, there is a fee ($.10 per page) for photocopies and printouts. The printing and photocopy fee is the same for government information as it is for reproducing other library materials. The patron may also opt for the non-fee service of downloading or e-mailing the information. Government information, like other library materials, may be checked out to any member of the general public who has purchased a Guest Patron card. See: Borrowing for Guests & Alumni. Exceptions are the non-circulating materials, including government materials, housed in Reference, Maps, and Microforms. Also, the general public may utilize interlibrary loan through their public library in order to borrow government publications from Simpson or another depository library.

Finally, Simpson Library shares overarching responsibilities with the Superintendent of Documents and other depository libraries. We provide comparable access to and services of Federal and state government publications within the depository community. Access and services are readily available to all users whether it is the library's primary users, the general public, or persons with disabilities. Another responsibility that the library meets is to communicate cooperatively with GPO and the depository community in order to further the goals of the Federal Depository Library Program.

Government Documents

Federal Depository Library


Cindy Su-chin Lu
Head, Collections Services
Government Documents Librarian

Phyllis Johnson
Government Documents Assistant