Government Documents - Access Policy

All depository items shall be made accessible to the general public, especially those residing in the third congressional district of Michigan, as well as to the students and staff of the Calvin community.

Since the government documents collection is considered a reference collection, most documents do not circulate (with the exception of some CD-ROMs). Depository items that are not barcoded for circulation are to be used in the library. A few frequently used items (i.e., Grand Rapids census materials both in paper and in tangible electronic formats) are placed on general reserve. A small percentage of documents are housed outside the library either in the Geology, Geography, and Environmental Studies Department or in the Curriculum Center. Selective housing agreements are in place for both of these locations.

Some provisions for the general public who either do not have guest user cards or who would not ordinarily be granted access to Calvin Information Technology (the computer lab) are:

  • Guest users may use items housed in the two locations on campus that are covered by the selective housing agreements.
  • Guest users may use depository items on general reserve even if they do not have borrowing privileges. They will be required to leave some form of identification (e.g., driver’s license) with the staff for the time they are using materials.
  • In the rare instance when a guest user needs hardware to access an electronic file (i.e., a Macintosh computer in Calvin Information Technology required by a given CD-ROM, or a printer in the G/G/ENST Department to print a file) this person may use equipment if it is available and if the user can work independently.
  • If the user needs assistance in using documents in electronic formats it may be necessary to give the library a few days lead time to set it up.

Access for persons with special needs:

  • Staff persons and/or student assistants are available during the hours the library is open to assist with microfiche and getting items from compact shelving.
  • If use of materials requires computer hardware or software that the library does not have, exceptions may be made to the general non-circulation policy that would allow users to take the materials with them to another source for the hardware or software.

Access to documents in electronic format (both tangible and intangible):

  • The documents staff and the general reference personnel have been trained to assist users with Internet sources of government information.
  • The library is in the process of formulating a method for accessing depository CD-ROMs. At one time software for them was installed on designated workstations in the Digital Resources Center, but changes in the procedures for those workstations has caused a need for change in this access method. Now the library is considering a standalone PC for this purpose.
  • Any person needing to access a CD-ROM that is not heavily used may need to give the department some lead time to get it installed and to figure it out.

Contact the dean of the library for more information.