Central Library Jean & Alexander Heard Library Vanderbilt University

Government Information Services

Department Home Page

Collections Access to Government Information Hours of Operation Location and Parking Identifying and Locating Materials Reference Service and Class Instruction Government Publications on the Web Circulation Contacting Government Information Services Staff

For our site on links to government information,
go to http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/romans/govt/index.html

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The Government Information Collections at Vanderbilt

Government Information and Media Services (GIMS) collections and service desk are located in the interior of the Central Library building on the Vanderbilt campus, at the rear of the 4th floor (the side of the building closest to 21st Street South).

Central Library has been a selective depository for federal government publications since 1884, a United Nations depository since 1946, and a Food and Agriculture Depository since 1948. The Central depository selects about 63% of the almost 6000 categories (item numbers) offered by the US Government Printing Office. The department has approximately 900,000 paper, microfiche and CD-ROM holdings.

Other government information is available at other Vanderbilt libraries. The Massey Law Library was designated as a selective federal depository library in 1976. The Stevenson Science and Engineering Library has been a Patent and Trademark depository since 1988.

The Government Publications Department at the Ned McWherter Library at the University of Memphis is the Regional Depository Library for the state. Tennessee depositories have a shared regional holdings arrangement. Each of the six largest depositories (of which Vanderbilt is one) is a "subregional" responsible for different classes of documents. Central Library has been designated to hold publications from these government branches and agencies: the President (all SuDocs documents classed PR and PREX), the State Department (all S documents), Patent and Trademark Office, Energy Research Abstracts, Foreign Trade Reports, and all Congressional documents (all Y documents).


Access to Government Information

The mission of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) is to assure current and permanent public access to the universe of information published by the United States Government. This universe includes all Government information products, regardless of format or medium, which are of public interest or educational value, except for those products which are for strictly administrative or operational purposes, classified for reasons of national security, or the use of which is constrained by privacy considerations.

The public is welcome to use the federal depository collection of Government Information and Media Services without charge. The Vanderbilt Libraries and Government Information and Media Services (GIMS) have a longstanding commitment to public access to information created by or for the federal government. The "right to know" is a cornerstone of government accountability and informed public participation. If you have any questions about access to government information, please ask a librarian.

Library hours are listed here. During hours restricted to authorized card holders, patrons wanting to use the depository collection can gain access by knocking on the front doors and letting library staff know that they wish to use depository resources.


Hours of Operations and Reference Service

The Government Information and Media Services (GIMS) collection is available any hour the library is open. GIMS reference librarians provide assistance in locating and using government information during these hours:

Monday through Friday: 9 am - 5 pm

During fall and spring semesters, graduate students staff the GIS desk and provide help with basic questions so the hours are extended beyond the regular hours:

Monday through Thursday: 9 am - midnight
Friday: 9 am - 9 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 9 pm
Sunday: Noon - midnight

Call us at 322-2838 to confirm current hours.

Location and Parking

We are located on the main floor (4th level) of the Central Library. Our street address is

Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37240-0007

Parking Garage: Paid parking is available directly across the street from the library, on the corner of 21st Avenue South and Scarritt, in the Wesley Parking Structure, which is in the same complex as Bruegger's and CVS Pharmacy.

Street Parking: There are parking meters on 19th Avenue South (2-hour maximum) and in the lot next to the building (half-hour maximum), which also has longer-term parking for handicapped patrons. Please call us at 322-2838 for information about access to the collection by handicapped patrons.


Reference Service

Government Information and Media Services maintains a separate reference desk to provide assistance with government information during all hours we are open. We have both printed and online reference sources -- indexes, bibliographies, and statistical yearbooks, for example. We will help you use these sources to find information in publications that are not listed in our online catalog. If you need in-depth assistance, you can set up an appointment with one of our specialists. Our phone number is 322-2838. You can also send government document e-mail reference questions to: frank.lester@vanderbilt.edu.

When the Government Information and Media Services office is closed, the librarians at the main reference desk in the lobby of the 4th (main) floor may provide assistance.

If the Vanderbilt Library system does not have the government publications you need, we will be able to help you identify other libraries that may have them and help you make an Interlibrary Loan request.


Class Instruction

Government Information and Media Services has an active library instruction program. We provide groups of patrons (for example, the members of a particular class) with demonstrations of relevant online databases and print sources appropriate to their research needs. Please contact Larry Romans at 322-2838 to set up a session.


Identifying and Locating Materials

Almost all US government publications published after 1976 are listed in Acorn, our online catalog. Some earlier US government publications are also listed, but many are not. The staff will be glad to assist you in finding government publications.

Food and Agriculture Organization publications and some United Nations publications are listed in Acorn. Ask us for help to find FAO, UN publications, and other international publications.


Government Publications on the Web

More and more government information is available on the Internet, and many publications are no longer available in printed form. A good beginning place for a search for government information online is Vanderbilt's Government Information website at http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/romans/govt/index.html.

Most of the computers in the Central library require a Vanderbilt ID for login. There are two workstations in the GIMS department designated for government information research that anyone can use. Please see the staff at the GIMS service desk to log onto these workstations.



Most government publications can be checked out for two weeks. Items are checked out from and returned to the main Circulation desk in the lobby. There are no overdue fines for missing government documents, but you may be billed for replacement and other costs if you do not return the item you have checked out.

These categories and locations of government publications do NOT circulate:



Larry Romans is the Head of Government Information and Media Services and is Political Science, Communication Studies, and Leisure Reading Bibliographer. He was Chair (1999-2000) of the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) of the American Library Association (ALA). He received the CIS/GODORT/ALA Documents to the People Award for "outstanding leadership" in 1995 and the James Bennett Childs Award for "lifetime contributions" in 2008. He began the GODORT Handout Exchange and is the Webmaster of the FDTF Government Information: Frequently Used Sites website. Romans has served on ALA Council since 1992. He is a member of the ALA Executive Board, 2007-2010.

Frank Lester is a government information librarian. He is also Media Coordinator and Central Library Webmaster, as well as Film Studies Bibliographer. He has previously worked at the University of Michigan Documents Center and the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Teri Bante is Library Associate. She manages the daily operations of the department, oversees the processing of incoming documents and media, and updates and corrects entries in Acorn, Vanderbilt's online catalog.

Will Stringfellow is Library Assistant III. He is our film, copyright, and microfilm equipment expert. He processes incoming media items, updates entries in Acorn, Vanderbilt's online catalog, maintains the Leisure Viewing Collection, manages course film reserves, and assists faculty and students, and other patrons with film selection and microfilm equipment use.

Federal Depository No. 580,
Central Library, Vanderbilt University
Larry Romans, Frank Lester, Teri Bante, and Will Stringfellow
(615) 322-2838

Page created by Michael Moreland on January 11, 2002
Gretchen Dodge, Manager of the Government Information Services Department -- December 30, 1985-June 30, 2004

For our site on links to government information,
go to http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/romans/govt/index.html

To read an article about the department
go to http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/romans/govt/people.html

Links to related pages

Vanderbilt University Heard Library Central Library Vanderbilt Library Subject Guides

Class Handouts | Comparative Politics | Current News | European Studies
Government Information | International Relations
Newspapers and Broadcast Media | Political Science | Public Policy Issues and Groups
GODORT FTDF Frequently Used Sites

Larry Romans
Government Information Services

Central Library, Vanderbilt University
Phone: (615) 322-2838
Please send questions or comments to Larry Romans

Original Assistants: Michael Moreland, Peter Humke, Mark Kirkland, Mike Granillo, Ben Ratichek, Graham Black, and Greg Todd
Current Assistants: Rebekah Austin, Perry Beall, and Matt Frierdich

Last modified Friday, 01-Aug-2014 11:34:42 CDT