Government documents policy


The University of Nevada, Reno Libraries are a selective library member of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). This document includes policies covering government documents that are part of the FDLP.

Public access

Federal law requires that we provide free access to the general public to all official federal government documents (FGD) we select. The Libraries also strive to meet the FDLP guidance on access to collections and free, public access.

All patrons may access our physical FGD during the hours the Libraries are open. The vast majority of the federal government documents are stored in the Mathewson Automated Retrieval System (MARS). Because MARS is on site, retrieval usually takes no more than 15 minutes and is the same for all other materials held in MARS.

All FGD will be processed in a timely manner. If there are delays, FGD will be in an area easily accessible to all library staff if a patron should request a delayed item.

Searching for documents

Existing bibliographic records for FGD will be made available to the public through our public-facing online catalog. However, many FGD have not been catalogued and thus are not part of the public record. Library staff are instead available to assist members of the public in determining whether we have items in our collection that are not in our public-facing catalog.

Seeking assistance

Library staff will provide the same level of reference help to patrons seeking assistance with FGD as we do to all patrons. This includes helping in identifying FGD, providing timely help, providing guidance on how to use government resources and databases, and directing them to other FDLs that are better poised to serve them.

In the event of temporary disruptions that block normal access to government collections, the Libraries will provide an alternative method for free public access to the collections.

Equipment for access

The Libraries will also provide the necessary equipment for patrons to use FGD, including microfiche readers, or they will allow patrons to check out FGD if viewing equipment is not available at the library. Community users may also print by following our regular procedures for community patrons by seeking assistance at the Library Services desk. Scanners and photocopiers are also available.

While on campus, the public may access the catalog and digital FGD either by connecting to the university’s free Wi-Fi on a personal device or by using one of two publicly available computers by the reference desk.

Unless otherwise noted, patrons are allowed to check out FGD items under the same parameters as the rest of our collection.

Collection development

The Libraries’ collection policy for FGD follows our general collection policy. The Libraries collects FGD in line with the needs of the community. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nevada has a growing population, increasing from 2.7 million residents in 2010 to an estimated 3 million in 2017. This holds true for Northern Nevada, where the Reno population increased 10.4 percent and the Sparks population increased 10.8 percent during the same time period. Major industries include retail (14,125), education (9,878), health care (12,952), professional/scientific/technical services (7,629), and hotel and food (13,638). Gaming and mining also remain important to Northern Nevada, while the state has started to encourage investment in technology-related fields. In terms of FGD collections, we are especially interested in items focused on Northern Nevada and related issues, such as mining, the Great Basin, indigenous peoples, and federal land ownership, all of which are of great interest to the community.


In determining which FGD items will best fit the needs of our community (both at the university and in Northern Nevada), we will consider the following information:

  • The Libraries’ mission statement
  • Disciplinary strengths and weaknesses at the university
  • History and demographics of our communities
  • Our prior selection profiles
  • Other factors that can help us best serve our communities

As required by the FDLP, the Libraries will select or provide access to titles on the Basic Collection list. Because of the growing movement toward digital, the Libraries will select with the electronic format as our priority, although other formats will be considered based on availability and needs of our communities.

The Libraries will consider keeping duplicate items only when an item is directly related to Nevada. One of those duplicates may be a digital copy.

Maintenance and disaster planning for FGD will follow the Libraries’ general maintenance and disaster planning policies. We will make reasonable efforts to replace or repair FGD that have been lost or stolen. In the event of a disaster that affects access to the collections and/or our ability to receive and process them, we will contact the FDLP and make alternative arrangements.

Last revised: April 11, 2022