Government Documents Collection Development Policy

Introduction & Mission Statement

The Woodbridge Public Library has been a selective depository for federal documents since 1965, originally representing New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District and currently the Sixth Congressional District. As a Congressionally designated depository, the library has a legal mandate to acquire, maintain and provide free access to federal government materials, in accordance with the requirements of Title 44, Chapter 19 of the United States Code and of the Federal Depository Library Program.

The primary mission of the depository is to support the general collecting activities of the Woodbridge Main Library, which serves the Township of Woodbridge, New Jersey. Additionally, the library strives to meet the government information needs of all residents of the Sixth Congressional District.

Community Analysis

The Sixth Congressional District includes parts of the counties of Middlesex and Monmouth. In 2008 to 2012, the district had a total population of 734,674, of which 373,238 (50.8%) was female and 326,000 (49.2%) was male. The median age of the population was 36.5 years; 22.8% of it was under 18 years and 11.6% of it was 65 years and older. For people reporting a single race, 66.8% were White; 10% were Black or African American; less than 0.5% were American Indian and Alaska Native; 17.2% were Asian, 3.3% were 'some other race,' 19.8% were Hispanic, and 80.2% were White non-Hispanic. The median household income in the district was $75,713.

For workers 16 years and older, the leading industries of employment were educational services, health care, and social assistance (21.6%); professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (13.5%); and retail trade (11.6%). The most common occupations were management, professional, and related occupations (40.3%); sales and office occupations (25.6%); service occupations (15.1%); production, transportation, and material moving occupations (11.6%); and natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations (7.4%). Private wage and salary workers represented 82.9% of those employed; 13.1% were government workers; and 3.9% were self-employed in their own businesses, not workers for other employers. Employees commuted to work by driving alone (71.3%), carpooling (8.0%), using public transportation (10.4%), walking (3.4%), and by other means (2.1%). The remaining 3.1% of employees worked at home.

1American Community Survey, 2008 to 2012

Collection Management & Selection

Responsibility for the selection of government documents and supporting materials lies primarily with the government documents librarian, in consultation with the head of reference and the Main Library coordinator. Other library staff may be consulted for input as deemed appropriate.

Subject Areas Collected

All titles listed in the Basic Collection are acquired by the library, and titles listed in the Suggested Core Collection: Annotated for Small to Medium Public and Academic Libraries and for All Law Libraries are strongly considered, as are titles marked as essential in the List of Classes of United States Government Publications Available for Selection by Depository Libraries. Collection emphasis is on current information, and titles relating to New Jersey are given priority. Subject areas on which the library places special emphasis are law, health, travel, military history, small business and consumer information. Item number selections are reviewed on an ongoing basis and during the annual selection cycle.


Paper is the format of choice for documents. In the case of essential titles, the library tries to maintain collections of both paper and electronic formats. If paper is not available, the electronic format of a title is acquired. Electronic versions of select federal titles may be substituted for paper or microfilm titles. The library has a dedicated government documents workstation on which selected CD-ROM or DVD titles may be viewed.

Selection Profile2

The library's current selection profile for government agencies appears below, with the number and percentage of the available items selected (in parentheses).

  • A: Agriculture Department - 84 (5%)
  • AE: National Archives and Records Administration - 18 (35%)
  • B: Broadcasting board of Governors - 1 (11%)
  • C: Commerce Department - 757 (47%)
  • CC: Federal Communications Commission - 2 (9%)
  • CR: Civil Rights Commission - 9 (100%)
  • D: Defense Department - 76 (7%)
  • E: Energy Department - 31 (9%)
  • ED: Education Department - 72 (36%)
  • EP: Environmental Protection Agency - 19 (7%)
  • FA: Fine Arts Commission - 1 (100%)
  • FR: Federal Reserve System Board of Governors - 14 (93%)
  • FT: Federal Trade Commission - 30 (85%)
  • FTZ: Foreign Trade Zones Board - 2 (100%)
  • GP: Government Printing Office - 37 (94%)
  • GS: General Services Administration - 13 (14%)
  • HE: Health and Human Services Department - 229 (23%)
  • HH: Housing and Urban Development Department - 38 (52%)
  • HS: Homeland Security Department - 61 (29%)
  • I: Interior Department - 51 (7%)
  • IC: Interstate Commerce Commission - 1 (100%)
  • ITC: International Trade Commission - 7 (31%)
  • J: Justice Department - 148 (45%)
  • JU: Judiciary - 15 (22%)
  • L: Labor Department - 196 (57%)
  • LC: Library of Congress - 72 (43%)
  • LR: National Labor Relations Board - 3 (25%)
  • NAS: National Aeronautics and Space Administration - 12 (12%)
  • NCU: National Credit Union Administration - 12 (75%)
  • NF: National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities - 26 (59%)
  • NMB: National Mediation Board - 2 (33%)
  • NS: National Science Foundation - 13 (28%)
  • P: United States Postal Service - 14 (36%)
  • PE: Peace Corps - 5 (50%)
  • PM: Personnel Management Office - 5 (8%)
  • PR: President of the United States - 12 (92%)
  • PREX: Executive Office of the President - 83 (58%)
  • RR: Railroad Retirement Board - 5 (26%)
  • S: State Department - 77 (67%)
  • SBA: Small Business Administration - 16 (55%)
  • SE: Securities and Exchange Commission - 2 (11%)
  • SI: Smithsonian Institution - 29 (52%)
  • SSA: Social Security Administration - 21 (20%)
  • T: Treasury Department - 46 (22%)
  • TD: Transportation Department - 82 (18%)
  • TDA: U.S. Trade and Development Agency - 4 (100%)
  • VA: Veterans Administration - 5 (6%)
  • X: Congress - 6 (60%)
  • Y: Congress - 179 (18%)

2Documents Data Miner, May 2014

Withdrawal / Weeding

Weeding the government documents collection is an ongoing process. The library follows the guidelines set forth in the Depository Library Handbook and any supplemental instructions from the regional depository librarian. Superseded documents are generally discarded. Documents such as the Statistical Abstract of the U.S. and the U.S. Government Manual may be retained longer than the required five years if in the judgment of the government documents librarian and the head of reference, their retention benefits the library's reference and research needs. Storage space, condition, historical value, and New Jersey-specific content are taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to retain documents beyond five years.

Public Access

As a federally designated depository library, the Woodbridge Public Library is required to provide free public access to depository materials. All tangible documents received since 2000 are listed in the library's online catalog. Electronic resources are linked from the catalog record. Retrospective cataloging of older documents is done on an ongoing basis.

Most of the collection is arranged by superintendent of documents number and housed in movable shelving in the government documents department; selected documents are cataloged for the reference and circulating collections and shelved by Dewey decimal number. Pamphlets (e.g., travel brochures) are filed by subject in vertical files. Maps are housed in map cases according to region.

Documents cataloged for the circulating collection can be borrowed by any patron with a valid Woodbridge Library card. Other documents may be circulated to patrons or institutions informally on a case-by-case basis with the approval of the government documents librarian. Documents are also made available to other libraries via interlibrary loan.

All documents, regardless of where they are housed, are available to any patron free of charge for use within the library. At least one reference librarian knowledgeable in government documents is available at the information desk to assist patrons in finding government documents during business hours.

Approval Dates

  • Approved - Board of Library Trustees - July 16, 2015
  • Revised - Board of Library Trustees - February 21, 2019