U.S. Government Documents Depository Policy

Colorado College, Tutt Library has been a selective U.S. Government Documents Depository since 1880. Over the years the library has maintained one of the best historical collections of U.S. Government Documents in the surrounding region, with some publications dating from 1774.

The physical collection numbers about 150,000 items (paper, microfiche, maps, and CD-ROMs/DVDs). The library catalog contains links to full text electronic documents. Government Document Web pages provide many links to online indexes, branches of government including state, federal, and international links under specific topics. The library makes available U.S. government and privately published indexes to the physical collection and online indexes with full text access to some publications.


The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), which is administered by the US Government Printing Office (GPO), was established by Congress to ensure that the American people have access to government information. The Depository Library Program is authorized by Title 44 United States Code, Chapter 19. The collection is managed and accessible according to rules and regulations established by the Library Programs Service of the GPO (Instructions to Depository Libraries (mandatory rules and regulations), Federal Depository Library Manual (supplementary guidance), Guidelines for the Federal Depository Library System, (recommended conduct)).

Location and Call Numbers

The FDLP collection is organized by the Superintendent of Documents Classification System (SuDoc). This system is different from the Library of Congress call numbers used in the rest of the library. It begins with a letter(s) that indicates the department (E = Education), and then is followed by numbers. Please see the Documents staff or Research Librarian if you have trouble locating items with this system. If the document is available electronically, click on the link in the catalog record. Exceptions and other locations are noted in the catalog.

The collection is housed in Tutt Library, Garden Level and 4th floor, and the Creekside facility. USGS topographic maps are shelved in alphabetical or map series number order in the map room in Tutt 4th Floor. Oversized maps stored in the map case in Creekside. Microfiche and CD/DVDs are also located in Creekside.

You will need to request any documents with the Creekside location via the catalog.

Access Policy

Guides to the government documents collection are available through the Government Information Web Page and via the Research Guides tab on the library's homepage. Most of the physical materials are included in the library's catalog.

Access to the government documents collection is available to members of the general public along with the CC community. Most of the items in the collection are available to check out according to library circulation policy. Some documents, including maps and microfiche, do not check out. They may be used in the library.


The catalog, Government Information web pages and (Lib)guides may be searched from any computer with internet access. Two stations near the Research Desk are designated for members of the general public. Users are limited to 1 hour at a computer station. The librarian on duty at the Research Desk will login people requesting access.

Reference Service

Reference services offered to the general public using the depository are comparable to the reference services given to the library's primary patrons. Indexes, databases, and other tools to locate government information in the library and on the Internet are available to all depository patrons.

Reference service is provided by the Reference Librarian on duty at the Research Desk.

Reference service for documents available on the catalog, CD-ROMs, or on the government documents web pages consists of guidance in locating specific titles and general introductory instructions on use of the resource. Some computer literacy is required of the user.

Telephone reference calls will be addressed after patrons in the library are served. Specific brief information requested by telephone will be located and left at the Circulation Desk for patrons to check out or use in the library. If the telephone question requires more extensive research, the patron will be asked to come to the library when the Government Documents staff is on duty for help in conducting the research. Email and chat/text questions are handled in the same way.

Circulation Policy

Most of the items in the collection are available for check out according to library circulation policy.

Interlibrary Loan Policy

Documents in Colorado College, Tutt Library, except those designated in the catalog or by the government documents staff for 'in library use only', are available to all libraries on Interlibrary Loan.

Colorado College students, staff, and faculty may request government publications that Tutt Library does not own via Interlibrary Loan or Prospector through Tutt Library. Public patrons must make their requests through their own public library.

Collection Development Policy

Selection of Items

The focus of this collection is consistent with the emphasis of the historical holdings including: Political Science, Public Policy, U.S. History, Economics and Business, Anthropology, Education, Sociology, General Science, Geology, and Environmental Science.

  • Depository items numbers are selected in departmental series based upon the above areas of interest.
    • Annual reports and most of the statistical series from all of the departments are selected to give an overview of departmental activities.
    • Congressional series publications have been selected in the past and much of the current publications are available through online resources.
  • The Documents Librarian in consultation with the departmental liaison librarians (Science, Social Science, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary) does item selection. Faculty members are consulted when appropriate.
  • Titles not generally selected for our library are highly technical reports, rules and regulations, handbooks, manuals and guides (except when deemed necessary), posters, ephemeral material, and titles where frequency or size cannot be determined.
  • The choice of format may effect selection. Increasingly, the online version is all that is available. Microfiche, VHS and digital formats (floppy disc) are no longer disseminated.
  • Withdrawal of documents older than the current five years (allowable under GPO rules) will be considered on the basis of this collection development policy and will be carried out in accordance with the policy outlined in the Instruction to Depository Libraries.
  • A title missing and presumed lost, that is identified through inventory or other means, is replaced if deemed important. Titles claimed and not received are also acquired if possible. Sources for replacement are GPO, Interlibrary Loan from which a copy is made if the document isn't copyrighted, a private publisher, or printed from an online source if available. Damaged documents are replaced in the same manner.

Care and Maintenance

  1. Cataloging - ongoing cataloging of documents
    1. Completed retrospection project of documents profiled from 1976-1992.
    2. Cataloging records, now batched loads, from 1992 forward.
  2. Weeding - Documents may be weeded from the collection according to the rules in the Instructions to Depository Libraries. Some series have been retained for historical reasons.
    1. Superseded titles are weeded on a regular basis in accordance with the Superseded List (available on the FDLP Web site.)
    2. A major weeding project was undertake in the years leading up to the library remodel.
  3. Binding - Documents receiving heavy and long term may be bound (sent to the bindery or bound in-house)
    1. The Documents Librarian identifies those documents.
    2. Several document series are bound because they are identified as having historical value (e.g. USGS Professional Papers and Bulletins, Colorado volumes of decennial census).
    3. Documents that are loose-leaf and sent without binders are bound together with metal fasteners or placed in three ring notebooks.
  4. Preservation - a preservation project for some of the historical series (Serial Set, early titles in the Congressional Record, Labor Dept., Smithsonian, War Department, and Treasury Department) began in 1981.
    1. Twenty volumes per year were sent to the bindery to be rebound with instructions to maintain the appearance of the original volume, including special labels. The Documents Librarian directs this project.
    2. Folded maps from early Serial Set volumes are being preserved by being removed from the volume, humidified, flattened, repaired, de-acidified, encapsulated, and shelved in a map case with links to and from the original location.
    3. The Serial Set has been oiled twice in the past twenty years. Oiling is no longer recommended for old leather volumes.

Indexes and Bibliographies

The library has a strong commitment to providing printed and on-line access to government documents. Many documents received earlier than 1976 are not cataloged in the public catalog, access is dependent upon indexes and bibliographies.

Important examples of those indexes we have available are:

Monthly Catalog (GPO) 1895 - current, (paper and microfiche)
Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog, 1895-1971 (paper)
Cumulative Title Index to U.S. Public Documents, 1789-1976 (paper)
Congressional Indexes, 1789 - 1969 (online)
Congressional Universe, Congressional Indexes, 1789-1972 (database)
CIS U.S. Executive Branch Documents, 1789-1909
Personal Author Index, 1941-1975

Report an issue - Last updated: 01/02/2021