Government Information Services - An Overview

Government Information Services:
An Overview of Materials and Services

THE BASICS: Government Information Services (GIS) in the JFK Memorial Library at Cal State Los Angeles contains publications of the:

1.  United States government,  and  2. California State government.

government documentsACCESS POLICY: As a Selective Federal Depository, Government Information Services welcomes the general public to use materials on site, free of charge. The stacks collection is available all hours the building is open. Building and service hours are reduced when classes are not in session. Please call ahead for exact hours.

What is Government Information Services?

Since 1956, the Library has been a Congressionally designated depository for U.S. government publications serving the 32nd U.S. Congressional District of California. The Library currently receives about 55% of the items made available by the U.S. Government Printing Office for selection. Official designation as a State depository was made in 1960. Hundreds of new documents are added to the collections every week.

Why Should I Use Government Publications?

Something relevant to virtually every field of study taught and researched at Cal State L.A. may be found in the books, pamphlets, periodicals, microforms, maps, compact and floppy disks, and Internet gophers and World Wide Web sites that contain Federal and State government information. You will find statistics, Federal and State legislative materials, Census reports, research monographs, technical reports, educational frameworks, and more. Subjects covered include politics and government, business, law, education, crime and criminal justice, health and medicine, science and technology, and the arts and humanities. Information about income tax, Social Security and Veterans benefits, careers, small business, citizenship and immigration, federal grants and fellowships, travel and recreation, nutrition and exercise, household safety, and many other consumer-oriented topics is also available.

How Do I Find Government Publications in the Library?

U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS - The Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (in print form:1895 to present) is the basic finding aid. For materials issued since the mid-1970s, most users prefer MarciveWeb Docs, a Web-based version of the Monthly Catalog. The [Monthly] Catalog is also available in its own Web-version, called the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, [Monthly was removed from the Web-version, since it is updated daily]. At CSLA, it is recommended that you use MarciveWeb Docs because it provides easier access to CSLA holdings information.

CALIFORNIA PUBLICATIONS - Use the California State Publications Index, on paper and microfiche, or the University of California's MELVYL® electronic catalog, which includes the records of the California State Library. See the yellow Library Guide handout entitled "United States and California Government Publications" for complete details about these and other print and electronic finding tools which is available at the Reference Center in Library North, 1st Floor.

SHELF LOCATION - Both U. S. and California Government publications are shelved in the Library Palmer Wing, 2nd Floor. Shelf arrangement is by Superintendent of Documents classification numbers (for Federal) and California State Library classification numbers (for State). These systems are based on government authorship, not on subject classification (as the Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal systems are). Publications of other governmental bodies, including those of the City and County of Los Angeles, the United Nations and other international organizations, and other countries, may be found elsewhere in the Library - in the Reference Center, Periodicals, and the main circulating collections. These materials are located using the Library Catalog (OPAC).

Records for most Federal and State government publications are not yet in the Library Catalog (OPAC). However, those government publications which are located in other parts of the Library can be identified using the Library Catalog (OPAC); among these are many periodicals, certain major reference works, and a variety of ongoing serial publications (including various State Department and Smithsonian Institution titles, and all U.S. Geological Survey Bulletins, Professional Papers, Circulars, and printed Water Supply Papers).

What Services are Available to Users?

Reference assistance is provided at the Reference Center, 1st Floor, Library North. Specialized consultation, as well as class lectures or tours, can be arranged; please call Government Information Services at (323) 343-2015 for further details. Please be sure to allow several weeks' advance notice when requesting instruction.

Can Government Publications be Checked Out?

Most government publications may be checked out for a four-week period (exceptions include any that are stamped "Non-Circulating" or "Library Use Only," and materials kept on the reference shelves in Library North, 1st Floor, which may be used inside the Library only). Usually, microfiche and electronic products must be used inside the Library, as well.

BORROWING - To check out materials, you must have a current CSLA library card, a library card from another CSU campus, or a valid CSLA courtesy card. Bring all materials to be checked out to the main Circulation Desk, 1st Floor, Library North.

RENEWING - You may renew materials using the Web, or in person, twice - that is, so long as another Library user has not placed a hold on the material(s). You may NOT renew materials that are overdue.

AUTHOR - This Web Page was authored by Christine Gladish, the Library's Government Information Specialist. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the CONTENT of this Library Web page, please send them to Christine Gladish: Thank You.