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Federal and State Government Information: Government Documents Policies

The Hekman Library is a depository for federal and state government information in a variety of formats.

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, documents do not circulate except with special permission from a reference librarian. Due dates are determined by the patron and the librarian on duty.

Some provisions for the general public who either do not have guest user cards or who would not ordinarily be granted access to computers on campus are:

  • Guest users may use items housed in the library.
  • Guest users may use depository items even if they do not have borrowing privileges. 
  • In the rare instance when a guest user needs hardware to access an electronic file, this person may use equipment if it is available and if the user can work independently.

Access for persons with special needs:

  • Staff persons and/or student assistants are available during the hours the library is open to assist with retrieving items.
  • 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 location.

Access to documents in electronic formats:

  • The general reference staff have been trained to assist users with Internet sources of government information.

Internet Use Policy

  • The Hekman Library provides access to the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Electronic Collection to all users of the library, which includes residents in the Third Congressional District as well as members of the Calvin academic community.
  • Use of the FDLP Electronic Collection is free and unrestricted. 
  • The library's public workstations are not filtered.
  • Users are not required to sign in or present identification in order to use a public workstation.
  • Users of the public workstations are required to abide by the library’s “Computer Access Policy” policy, which is in compliance with the college’s “Responsible Use of Technology” document.
  • The Hekman Library currently charges guests for printing. Guests may obtain a guest user card at the main Circulation Desk, 2nd floor.
  • Guest and Alumni users can use public workstations on all floors of the library. If help is needed, it is available at the nearby Research Assistance Desk.

Electronic Formats

The Hekman Library, as a selective depository library in the Federal Depository Library Program, selects documents in various electronic formats (CD-ROM, diskettes, DVD, and Internet). The library makes every effort to made documents in electronic formats accessible to all library users under the following guidelines:

  • The Hekman Library attempts to meet the requirements of the latest “Recommended Specifications for Public Access Work Stations in Federal Depository Libraries.”
  • The library staff makes tangible electronic products available to the public in a timely manner, usually within two weeks of receipt. Items that require hardware not owned or available at the library, or that are of a limited and specialized nature are made available for circulation.
  • The Hekman Digital Library maintains pages for government information at the federal level as well as at the state and local level.
  • The Hekman Library has the capability to email and fax government information to distance users in accordance with its policies on faxing and emailing other information.
  • Currently, the library charges guests for printing. Guests may obtain a guest user card in order to use the library's printers/copiers. Cards are available at the main Circulation Desk on the library's 2nd floor.
  • All the librarians at the Hekman Library are willing to help users access electronic government information. If the level of expertise required is above that of the reference staff members, a guest/patron may be referred to a specialist at another documents library, such as Grand Valley State University. A guide created by the documents librarian there offers a lot of helpful information.