Government Documents

Statement of Purpose

The William Madison Randall Library, University of North Carolina Wilmington, was designated as a selective depository for United States government publications in 1965. The depository collection is administered and maintained according to the requirements of Title 44, Chapter 19 of the United States Code; Instructions to Depository Libraries; and Guidelines For the Depository Library System. The library is committed to providing free access to the collection for UNCW students, faculty, staff, and the general public. Services are provided in person, by telephone, mail, email, chat and through Interlibrary Loan (ILLIAD).


The Government Resources collection is supervised by the Government Information Librarian with the assistance of part-time student employees. The Librarian is responsible for selection, de-selection and withdrawal of depository items. Suggestions from library staff and library users are encouraged. The library currently selects mainly items in electronic format, with the exception of a few titles in print, all available through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the Government Publishing Office (GPO).  Randall Library currently maintains the largest depository collection in southeastern North Carolina.

Service Area

The Government Resources Collection serves UNCW students, faculty, staff and the general public. As of October 2022, there were 17,843 total students enrolled, with approximately 1,400 staff, and 1,232 faculty. The university offers a wide variety of academic programs designed to meet the diverse needs and interests of our students with 5 colleges and more than 250 undergraduate and graduate offerings, including 6 doctoral degrees.

Wilmington, North Carolina is part of the 7th U.S. Congressional District, which includes Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, New Hanover, Pender, Robeson and Sampson counties. (We also serve many of our online students and citizens in Onslow county, which is in the 3rd Congressional District). In addition, Randall Library reaches a more expanded population of users through our website and our participation in the OCLC Interlibrary Loan system.

The Wilmington community has a wide range of informational needs relating to small businesses, manufacturing, international trade, retirement communities, marine-related trades, travel and tourism, agriculture, retail trade and professional services. According to as of July 2022, the population of Wilmington, NC was 120,234. The percentage of adults with a Bachelor's degree or higher was 43.6%. The median household income was $54.066. The median value of owner-occupied housing units was $279,900.

Selection of Material

The List of Classes is the official listing of publications available for selection by depository libraries participating in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The list is arranged by the Superintendent of Documents (SUDOC) classification numbering system and is designed to group together publications by the same government author. The List of Classes is used at Randall Library to identify item numbers for potential addition to, or deletion from the library’s item selection profile.

Randall Library selects and receives all essential titles listed in the FDLP Basic Collection. As of October 2023, Randall Library collects approximately 65% of all available federal publications; of these, 88% are in electronic format.  *(Please note: the North Carolina State print documents are being retained and actively collected, in addition to monthly downloads of born digital titles).

Determining Needs

Methods of determining needs:

  1. FDLP Basic Collection. (Required by the FDLP for all depository libraries).
  2. Course descriptions in the UNCW undergraduate and graduate catalogs.
  3. Student, faculty, staff, and general public requests for specific documents and requests for information during research transactions.
  4. The distance from, and size of other U.S. depository collections.

Access to United Stated depository documents at Randall Library is ensured by:

  1. Posting of the depository logo at the library entrance and in the Documents Collection area along with other appropriate signage.
  2. Arrangement of documents by SUDOC number in their own, separate location within the library.
  3. Open stack access to the collection during all hours of operation.
  4. Circulation of most documents to registered borrowers. Some items have a status of "Library Use Only." These include the Code of Federal Regulations, the current United States Code, and several North Carolina Legislative titles, among a few other items.
  5. Provision of research assistance by Government Information Librarian.
  6. Availability of databases and websites such as the Catalog of Government Publications,,, HeinOnline, ProQuest Congressional and WorldCat-FirstSearch.
  7. Providing adequate equipment required for maintenance and accessibility such as shelving, map cases, computers, and internet access. The library also provides visitor computer workstations available to the public. These workstations are equipped with software that may be required when using government information in some type of electronic format.
  8. Integration of government information resources in information literacy instruction sessions.  This is accomplished by working directly with Research and Instruction Librarians and the Public Services Archivist within the Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives and History.
  9. Interlibrary loan lending and borrowing services. These services are limited to UNCW faculty, staff, and students and are provided free of charge. The general public is provided with bibliographic citations and referred to their local public library for interlibrary loan service.
  10. Participation in the Catalog Records Distribution Program (CRDP) and (MARCIVE), providing Randall Library with monthly catalog records, based on our Item Selection profile. This also includes providing and maintaining active Internet links to online publications through the online catalog.
Collection Maintenance

The collection is maintained in accordance with the guidelines provided in the Instructions to Depository Libraries. The following procedures ensure proper maintenance of the collection:

  1. Procedures manuals are maintained for the Government Information Librarian and student worker assistants.
  2. Holdings of serials and multipart titles are maintained to the piece level in the library's online catalog once the cataloging record is available from the CRDP/MARCIVE monthly record download.
  3. All documents are clearly marked with the depository property stamp and the SUDOC number.
  4. Withdrawn titles are offered to the regional and then to other depositories across the southeastern states before they are discarded. Any publication that is considered to have lasting research value is retained.
  5. Lost and damaged documents are evaluated for replacement or withdrawal. 
  6. The Government Information Librarian regularly reviews and attends workshops and conferences to keep abreast of new developments concerning the acquisition and processing of government resources and access to government information.
Review and Evaluation of Policies

The Randall Library Policy Committee reviews all policies and procedures on a regular basis and institutes any changes that are deemed necessary.

Questions about this policy may be addressed to Elisabeth Garner, Government Information Librarian,