University Libraries

U.S. Government Information

This library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law. (Title 44 United States Code)

The James E. Brooks Library has been an official depository for U.S. government publications since 1962, receiving currently about 37% of the items available. Of that 37%, the majority of the material today, is received online to support our students all around Central Washington. In addition, we have historical materials in tangible formats including maps, atlases, globes, and historic microform sets.  We do select some key publications in print.

Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) call numbers, which arrange materials by government agency rather than subject, are used to organize U.S. government information. Much of our resources may be found in OneSearch and in specialized databases, such as the ones listed below.

Government Publications Services is located on the third floor of Brooks Library, and its research collections are available to all users. A service desk is staffed in general from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday  through Friday and on some evenings and weekends. Please check the calendar for specific hours or call (509) 963-1541. We are here to help.

Finding Information in U.S. Government Databases

  • USA.gov is an Executive Branch portal that provides search access to interagency sites and social media content.
  • USA,gov en Español.
  • GovInfo is the official repository of the U.S. Government. Contents include current legislative, administrative, and legal information that needs to be accessible immediately after release.
  • U.S. Government Documents Registry is a database from the Hathi Trust digital library composed of metadata from U.S. federal documents dating back to 1790. However, it is not comprehensive as it depends upon depository libraries adding materials to the registry. It is a great place to begin your research.
  • MetaLib is a "federated search engine that searches across multiple U.S. Federal government databases, retrieving reports, articles, and citations while providing direct links to selected resources available."  It was created by the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

  Kids' Web Sites

  • Please know that many agencies have materials for K-12th grade on their sites as well as lesson plans for educators.  Take a few minutes to take a look!
  • Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids is an educational tool with information about our federal government specifically addressed to primary and secondary age children..
  • Coloring Books published by Federal and state governments in order to learn more about the environment, the judicial system, safety and nutrition, plus a whole lot more.

  Law & Legislation Web Sites and Government Databases

  • Congress.gov . contains current legislative information. It is an excellent resource for U.S. bills, committee reports and other information regarding federal legislation.
  • The United States Congress is said to be a bicameral body which means that it comprises of two legislative bodies.  The U.S. House of Representatives is the lower body and its representation is based on population.  Each member of the House represents a certain number of people which is based on the U.S. census.  Bigger states get more representatives while smaller states get fewer representatives.  However, the absolute minimum a state can have is one representative.  The U.S. Senate is the upper body of Congress and each state gets two senators.  Each state gets an equal number of senators.  If a new state were to emerge, that state would automatically get two senators to represent them.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court is the last chance arbiter of the law.  They are the ones who have the final say on how a law is interpreted.  They base their decisions on legal precedent and the U.S. Constitution.

Tools for Locating U.S. Government Publications - in all Formats

 

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