Government Documents

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Main Library
Louis Stokes Wing
4th Floor
525 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114

Supervisor: Sarah Dobransky

About the Department

The Government Documents Department contains publications published and distributed by the United States Government Publishing Office. As a congressionally-designated federal depository, the Cleveland Public Library selects publications originating from all agencies of the federal government and covering all topics. The Library has been a federal depository since 1886 and is one of the most comprehensive collections in northeast Ohio.

As a Federal Depository Library, public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 United States Code).

  • Government Documents materials are available to all patrons regardless of age by contacting staff in-person or via email, phone, or correspondence.
  • Out-of-state patrons may view materials in-house and should contact the department prior to arrival to ensure that specific titles are readily available or can be requested from storage.
  • Many older government documents are located in storage not accessible to the public, and requests for these materials may take several days to fully process. Patrons may contact departmental staff to request these materials. Closed storage materials must be used in-house; however, items may be copied or scanned to a flash drive either within the department or using equipment in the Digital Hub. Patrons may be asked to leave an ID while taking materials to another floor of the library, and all items must be returned to the department by end of business day. If necessary, patrons can request that material be held in Government Documents for an extended period while being reviewed.

The Federal Depository Collection

  • U.S. Census: 1790 to the present, is available in a combination of book, microform and CD-ROM. Included are the decennial Census of Population and Housing and the non-decennial Agriculture and Economic Censuses (Retail, Wholesale and Services).
  • Congress and Legislation: Biographical information on the legislators; committee assignments; Federal department rosters; and domestic and foreign consular listings. Progress of any legislation can be traced using these resources. Also available are Congressional committee hearings, reports, documents, prints, public laws, and legislative histories back to 1789.
  • Consumer Publications: The Consumer Information Catalog and the online Sales Product Catalog. The Consumer Action Handbook helps consumers navigate today`s complex marketplace.
  • Laws and Regulations: Current public laws, as well as permanent volumes of the Statutes-At-Large and the U.S. Code. The Code of Federal Regulations dates back to 1938. The Federal Register dates back to 1936.
  • Office of the US President: Official activities and communications of the President of the United States, including Executive Orders and Proclamations. On this topic, Government Documents also recommends:
  • Statistics: Search federal statistical publications from the 1960`s to the present by geographic divisions, by commodities and income, and by numerous other qualifiers, including age, race, sex, and education.
  • Basic Collection:The federal depository program also mandates a basic collection of documents that should be readily-available, some of which are linked above. The Federal Depository Library Program: Basic Collection Online contains the full list of available documents.

Although not government publications, Congressional Publications and Statistical Insight are two databases that can be used to access government documents and information. Both of these can be accessed through Cleveland Public Library’s Research Databases page.