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Government Documents Department
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
As Department head, the Documents Librarian makes all final decisions regarding collection development, including item selection, purchase, and weeding. She seeks and encourages input from the community, students, faculty, and staff, as well as the Documents Paraprofessional.
Murphy Library was designated a depository library in 1965. The Depository's mission is to serve the research and informational needs of the people of the 3rd Congressional district and UW-La Crosse. The 3rd Congressional District includes Barron, Crawford, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, La Crosse, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties as well as parts of Clark, Grant, Polk, and Richland counties.
The Government Documents Department shares its item list with La Crosse Public Library, another selective depository in the same community. Its regional depository is the State Historical Society in Madison.
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the Government Documents Department adhere to and vigorously support the guidelines and instructions provided by the GPO in the Instructions to Depository Libraries and theGuidelines for the Depository Library System.
The major objective of this selective depository library, as well as all depository libraries, is to provide to the general public free access to the government document resources now and in the future. All publications received through the depository library program are the property of the United States government. UW-L agrees to hold this material in trust for the citizens of the United States and make it available upon request.
In 1992 the Government Documents Department receives 50.67% of the items offered by the Government Printing Office.
In the event that a patron makes a request for material the Department does not own or select, referral is made to La Crosse Public Library if their item list shows they receive the material desired. If the publication is not available locally a patron is informed of the availability of Interlibrary Loan.
The Government Documents Department will maintain a strong general documents collection and will make special efforts to collect materials in the following subject areas to support the UW-L curriculum or community interest:
Due to space considerations maps are housed in the Map Library in Cowley Hall. A selective housing agreement was entered into with the Geography/Earth Science Department in 1982. Maps and the indexes and catalogs for these maps are selected for every state. A collection of Wisconsin topographic maps is maintained in the Documents Department due to frequency of use.
Most documents are targeted with tattle-tape to prevent theft. Insurance copies of certain high-interest items which are difficult to theft-proof such as La Crosse Census maps are kept in the Documents office. Lost documents may be replaced by purchase from the Department's deposit account or requested from other libraries' discard lists.
IV. Language, Chronology, and Geographic Guidelines
A. English is the primary language of the collection.
B. The Government Documents Department will maintain its collection of documents circa 1965 to the present.
C. The Documents department will collect publications emphasizing the national as well as upper Midwest regional perspectives. When possible the Department will select documents focusing on the following states:
The Government Documents Department collects publications in paper, microfiche, and machine-readable formats. Paper is preferred for heavily used documents or those with useful illustrations. Microfiche is selected in preference to paper in the case of large, bulky sets such as Congressional hearings. Machine-readable documents will be selected when they offer superior retrieval capacity or large space savings. In the case of items available in only one format selection will be based on usefulness of the item to the user population.
The GPO publishes many documents containing information current only for short periods of time. Such documents may be removed from the collection as they are superseded by more current information.
The GPO Instructions to Depository Libraries mandates that all publications received through the depository system (except those mentioned above) must be retained at least 5 years. Some documents may be re-evaluated at this time to determine their value in the collection.
The Department will add publications that enhance the collection as they become available through discard lists, donations, and purchases.
The Government Documents Department will maintain a reference collection featuring these basic tools provided by the GPO:
Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government PublicationsStatistical Abstract of the United StatesCatalog of Federal Domestic AssistanceUniform Crime ReportsUnited States Government Manual
The Department will supplement the tools provided by the GPO with the following reference materials purchased from private companies:
American Statistics IndexCongressional Information Service IndexMonthly Catalog on CD-ROM from SilverPlatter
The reference collection will also contain other GPO and commercial materials needed for general reference.
The Documents Department selects publications of value to us from other libraries' discard lists and offers publications we do not want to other libraries through the same means.
The Department does not solicit gifts, but gifts received that do not duplicate current holdings will be added to the collection, at the discretion of the Documents Librarian. Gifts that duplicate current holdings will be offered to other libraries.
The Department maintains a deposit account to purchase documents of value to the collection which we do not receive through depository selections and to purchase second copies of certain documents for the Reference department.
Weeding is am essential element in the collection development process. A solid weeding program increases shelf space, improves relevancy of the collection to the curriculum and community interests and enhances collection maintenance. The Instructions to Depository Libraries say "Libraries served by a regional depository may withdraw from circulation publications retained for a period of at least 5 years after receiving permission from the regional library." The Documents Department adheres to all instructions and guidelines on weeding.
General Criteria Used to Weed Documents Collection
Review all documents five years and older. Then use the following criteria to decide which documents should be retained.
If a document is approved for disposal, remove its record from our files, and enter it on a discard list to be sent to the regional and other depository libraries. Consider placing significant documents on the national Needs and Offers List.
Weed the documents collection of superseded documents on a continuous basis (See Instructions to Depository Items, "List of Superseded Depository Documents.") Superseded publications can be discarded without permission from the regional.
This policy was formally adopted on September 21, 1992; however, the aforementioned procedures have been followed for many years. Some language was adapted from Baylor University's Government Documents DepartmentCollection Development Policy Statement (ERIC Document 315 097).
Sandra Sechrest, Documents Librarian- September 21, 1992
Email: Use our Ask-a-Librarian form
Visit: Check the reference desk hours
As a pilot project, Room 12, in the library basement, has been converted to a silent
study room. Many students ask for an environment even quieter than the library’s designated quiet
areas, so this room is intended to answer that need.
For more information on this space please see our blog. We look forward to learning how this room fulfills its intended
purpose. Please let us know how it is working for you. Send feedback on this space to
To provide more computers during the busy period at the end of the semester, the library is opening
an additional room with computers. Room 30, a computer classroom in the basement of the library,
will open during regular library hours starting December 1, 2013. Students will be able to use the desktop
computers in that room individually or in groups.
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA | 608.785.8000
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