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Government Information: Access Policy for Federal Government Information

Provides an overview of the FDLP and GPO. Also links to other government information sources/portals for librarians and the public.

Library Policy Number E:24


The purpose of the federal depository library program is to provide federal government information to libraries for the free and unimpeded access of the public. Watson Library was designated as a Federal Depository in 1887. The majority of the Federal Documents collection is located in the Government Documents Reading Room (Room 111) of Watson Library; however some documents have been reclassed and are part of the reference, circulating, and serials collections.

It is the policy of the library to serve anyone who needs its services. There are no restrictions on who may use the library. The library's primary clientele are the students, faculty, and staff of the Northwestern State University. Since many of our distance education students live outside the immediate area, our services reflect the need to get material to people working and taking classes off-campus. Watson Library also serves the Natchitoches community and surrounding area.

Users from the NSU community present a NSU ID/One card to check out materials. Persons not from NSU must join the Friends of the Library and receive an official ID before they may check out materials or use the databases remotely. No fee is charged to check out library materials, however, overdue fines of $1.00 per item per day are assessed on all users.  For users who do not wish to check library material out, the library provides access to a scanner.  There is no charge to use the scanner, and library users can save scanned documents in a variety of formats. 

Government documents in print follow the same circulation policies as library books -  Microfiche documents typically do not circulate, but there are free reader/printers available in the Serials/Media Division.  CDs only circulate on a case-by-case basis, but the Reference/Government Information Coordinator will make a free copy of a CD upon request.  Maps circulate on a limited basis because the only place to get an oversized copy made is at a off-campus location.

Anyone may use the library's online catalog and databases in the library. Anyone may access the library's online catalog and the Government Documents Department home page from off campus.  Only users who are affiliated with NSU or have joined the Friends of the Library may access the subscription databases from off-campus.