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Government Information: Public Access Policies

This guide provides access to federal, state, local and international resources.

Public Access Policies

Access to Government Documents

Access to U.S. government information in any format is available to the general public. Anyone may request to look at government documents in paper or microform and may request access to a computer workstation to view government information in CD-ROM or electronic format. Government information in all formats is made available to the general public. Reference assistance for government information is available during all hours that the Reference staff is on duty.

Circulation of Government Information

All students, faculty, staff and alumni of Virginia State University or anyone who has purchased a community borrower's card may check out government documents. Most documents in the government information collection may circulate, with the exception of titles considered essential for reference work.

Public Services Guidelines for Government Information in Electronic Formats (CD-ROM and Internet)

Login procedures are in place to access library computers.  Guest login credentials are available for the general public using government information on the Internet.

Library subscription databases are available to the general public during all hours that Johnston Memorial Library is open. Use of subscription databases when the library is closed is limited by the licensing agreements for such subscriptions (i.e., passwords are not available).

Johnston Memorial Library updates its hardware on an ongoing basis in order to provide optimal access to electronic resources for all users. Attempts are made to obtain hardware that meets the latest "Recommended Specifications for Public Access Workstations in Federal Depository Libraries" as published annually in FDLP's Administrative Notes.

All patrons of Johnston Memorial Library may download or email government information in electronic formats from any public computer workstation in the library. 

Patrons use of computer workstations is subject to the library's overall acceptable use policy. .

Every effort is made to make government information in electronic formats available to the public in a timely manner. Shipped documents are processed immediately upon receipt. The library's web pages are updated continuously.

Public Services Guidelines for Substituting Electronic for Tangible Versions of Depository Publications

Johnston Memorial Library complies fully with the Federal Depository Library Program's (FDLP's) "Guidelines on Substituting Electronic for Tangible Versions of Depository Publications."

  • Electronic versions are substituted for tangible versions only when the electronic version is complete, official and permanently accessible.
  • Government information in electronic form is provided to the public free of charge.
    Retention of substituted materials follows retention rules for selective depositories.
    Only full-text official electronic versions on the List of Official GPO Databases are substituted for tangible FDLP products.
  • Every effort is made to consider user needs and staff constraints in choosing to substitute formats.
  • The library is committed to funding for future upgrades of computer hardware, printers, and software to ensure adequate numbers of computer workstations for public access to electronic Government information.
  • Johnston Memorial Library's policies for electronic formats and Internet use are within the guidelines established by the FDLP.