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Library : Government Information Services: Our Collection

Government Documents Collection

Our library became a Federal Depository Library in 1968; however, the collection also includes volumes that were published earlier. Our library selects and receives approximately 25% of all documents currently printed by the Government Printing Office. We choose our selections based on the university's curriculum and the needs of the local community.

We receive documents produced by:

  • Congress
  • Executive Office of the President
  • Department of Agriculture
  • National Archives
  • Commerce Department (& Census)
  • Defense Department
  • Energy Department
  • Education Department
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Health and Human Services Department
  • Homeland Security Department
  • Interior Department
  • Justice Department
  • Labor Department
  • NASA
  • State Department
  • Smithsonian Institutions
  • Transportation Department
  • Treasury Department
  • & many more departments, offices and agencies.

The best place to start a search for government information is our online catalog, or a conversation with one of our librarians. You can also browse the shelves to find the information you need. For tips on doing government research, click here.


Our Government Documents are organized according to the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) classification system. Each number refers to an issuing agency, i.e. whoever has created the document.* For example, in our documents section all documents produced by the Department of Defense are shelved together under "D".

If you are doing research on a particular topic, you may have to look in more than one place. For example: history of U.S. military action abroad may be found from the Department of Defense, the State Department, the CIA, the Executive Office of the President and Congress. More about SuDoc numbers (tutorial).

The first letter of a SuDoc call number indicates the agency.




Agriculture Department
National Archives
Census Bureau (Commerce Department)
Civil Rights Commission
Defense Department
Energy Department
Education Department
Environmental Protection Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Reserve
Public Health Services
Federal Trade Commission
Geographic Board
Government Printing
General Services Administration
Health & Human Services Department
Housing & Urban Development
Homeland Security Department
Interior Department
U.S. Geological Survey (Interior Dept.)
Information Agency
Interstate Commerce Commission
Justice Department

Labor Department
Library of Congress
Labor Relations Board
National Research Council
Hational Aeronautics & Space Administration
National Endowment for the Humanities
National Science Foundation
Peace Corps
Office of Personnel Management
Presidential Reports
Executive Office of the President
Vice Presidential Reports
State Department
Small Business Administration
Smithsonian Institution
Social Security Administration
Interior Revenue Service (Treasury Department)
Department of Transportation
War Records
Philippine Islands
Congressional Committees
Congressional Budget Office

Numbers after the period are treated like a WHOLE number, not like a decimal number as in the Library of Congress call number system.

Correct SuDoc order [whole numbers]:
Correct LC order [decimal]:


All formats of our Documents collection are located on the first floor (map). We receive the following formats: paper, CD-Rom, DVD, microfilm, microfiche, electronic-only and maps.

The online catalog will give you the information you need to find a document under "LOCATION":

HU-Government Docs : The Government Documents shelves are across from the Reference books. A few current issues of periodicals are also shelved in the Lewis Reading Room.

HU-Government Microfilm and HU-Government Microfiche are also on the first floor, in the far corner nearest the visitor parking lot. A film/fiche reader/scanner is located on the library's ground floor; ask staff for assistance. Microfilm and microfiche may only be used in the library.

HU-Government Maps are housed in the map cabinets near the microfilm and microfiche. Click here for our map collection guide. Most maps may be checked out.

Internet means your item is electronic-only. If you receive an error message, please notify the library staff so we may correct the problem.

More than 60% of documents produced by the government today are only available online. An electronic document can be a simple web page, or a completely digitized copy of the paper original. Many government documents and databases are included in our online catalog; if you wish to continue your research using government web sites, try using USA.gov or ask a librarian for help.

The Government Maps cabinets house hundreds of maps created by a number of U.S. Government Departments. Maps can depict both locations and topics; our collection covers information ranging from population demographics, to transportation facilities, to land use.

Scroll down for:

  • Finding a map
  • Map types
  • Map links

finding a map

To search our online catalog for maps, use the keyword search menu. In the box enter your search word and "AND maps", for example "Afghanistan AND maps". The icons on the right hand side of your screen will show you whether the titles shown are maps (globe icon) or books containing maps (book icon).

The map collection is located on the first floor of the library, past the government documents shelves and the study rooms.All maps designated as "HU-Government Maps" in the library catalog are found here.(floor map)

Our collection contains many maps that are not in the online catalog, but are easily found by browsing the right folder or drawer. Below, under "Map Types" you'll find a short list of the most popular maps; you can also take a look at our more detailed "Government Maps and Posters Holdings List", located on the maps cabinets.

Please note that our Reference Department also has a number of atlases and related reference materials.


The collection is open for browsing. Larger maps can be used in the library only; many of our smaller maps can be checked out just like a book.

Need help? If you need help locating or checking out maps, contact the Government Information Librarian.


There are a few categories of government maps that are not shelved in this area. You will find them on the shelves in the Government Documents stacks, under their respective call numbers. They are:

Bureau of Land Management Areas. (I 53.7/2: )
National Parks and Forests. (I 29.6 thru I 29.8:, and A 13.36/2: )
National Fish and Wildlife Refuges. (I 49.44/2: )


Many of our maps are fragile and the older they are, the harder they are to replace. We appreciate your caution in handling them. If you need assistance, we are happy to help.

Map types

  • Census Information Maps (Call no. C 3.62/4: and C 3.62/10:)

Location: drawer 1.
Metropolitan Statistical Areas: MSAs, CMSAs, PMSAs. Also U.S. Congressional Districts with a list of U.S.Senators from the 103rd Congress onward. Please note: block and tract maps for the Census of Population and Housing are available on DVD at the Reference Desk. See Map Links (scroll down) for online information.

  • CIA Country, Region, Continent and World Maps ( Call no. PREX 3.10/4:)

Location: large white notebooks on top of cabinets, as well as drawers 11 and 12

Afghanistan CIA map

Shaded-relief and planimetric maps of areas of current interest. Especially popular is the annually updated Political Map of the World series; many CIA country maps also include information on land use, population density, economic activity, ethnic groups, religious groups etc.

These maps are organized alphabetically by country or region name. A complete list of names is provided in each notebook. For best results, try searching by multiple names, for example: search by West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Middle East, etc. See Map Links (scroll down) for online information.

  • USGS Topographic maps – Virginia quadrangles (call nos. I 19.41: and I 19.81:) and Counties and State maps (call no. I 19.108:)

Location: drawers 13, 14 and 15.
Topographic coverage of Virginia by quadrangle: 7.5 minutes of latitude by 7.5 minutes of longitude. The 7.5-minute and slightly larger-scale 15-minute maps provide complete coverage of the shape and elevation of the earth’s surface. They name and depict all prominent features - natural and man-made - in great detail. Organized alphabetically by quadrangle name.

For help in determining the right quadrangle use: “Virginia Index to topographic and other map coverage”, located on top of the cabinets; or The USGS online locator. This search engine allows you to search for major geographic features such as rivers, lakes, mountains, buildings, etc. The search results will show major characteristics as well as latitude, longitude and the name of the quadranglke in which your geographic feature is located.

Use the pamphlet “Topographic map symbols” to read the maps correctly. See Map Links (scroll down) for online information.

  • Virginia Historic and Economic Maps

Virginia historical mapBrowse drawer 13 for a selection of maps including Virginia Historical and Literary Maps; Virginia and Maryland's Colonial Boundaries 1603-1783; Roanoke historical map; Virginia Economic Profiles Maps; etc.

Historical map of Virginia

map links

  • Census Maps
    Helps you create maps for all categories of population data in the U.S. Census. use the Fact Sheet tool to create a quick data sheet (with maps) for your community ; or use Thematic Maps to show geographic distribution of a particular data set. Reference Maps shows boundaries for cities, Census tracts and blocks, etc.

  • CIA Maps
    Find current CIA country, region and world maps

  • Library of Congress Geography and Map Division: Collections
    Cities and towns, conservation, exploration, culture, military, transportation, and more.

  • Library of Congress Geography and Map Reading Room

  • MelissaData Lookups
    Zip code maps, city and county boundaries, school districts, congressional districts and more.

  • National Atlas of the United States
    Easy to use, map-like views of America's natural and sociocultural landscapes.

  • USGS Maps Site
    A wide array of maps and information about maps, including: topographic map finder and interactive topographic maps, aerial photographs by city name or zip code, national atlas, geographic names database, geospatial data and more. To search for topographic maps, use the online locator.

  • Weather Maps - National Climatic Data Center
    Click on "Search by Map" - Federal Depository Libraries may access the Monthly Climatic Data for the World, Storm Data, and Local Climatological Data via this controlled access site (access by password, ask at the Reference Desk)

  • Digital Maps & Geospatial Data Collections (created by the Geostat Center at University of Virginia Library)
    Links to online maps collections.

  • David Rumsey Historical Map Collection (commercial site by Cartography Associates)
    This digital map archive combines a large collection of historical maps with GIS applications. High-resolution, easy to navigate.

  • Map Reference Websites (created by Northwestern University Library)
    Links to online map tools.

  • Geography and Maps: Internet Resources (created by SUNY Buffalo Library)
    Links to journals, GIS & GPS information sites, map sites and collections, professional societies, government resources and more.

You can reach Beth Harris, Government Information Librarian at (540)362-6237 or bharris@hollins.edu. Our fax number is (540) 362-6756; our mailing address is 7950 E. Campus Dr., PO Box 9000, Roanoke, VA 24020

Click here for our Policies & Procedures Manual


The documents collection is available whenever the library is open. Click here for library hours.


The government documents collection is located on the first floor of the library, directly across from the reference collection. The Government Information Librarian's office is located on the third floor. Click here for directions to the campus.
Some items such as microfiche and maps are kept in separate locations; ask a staff member for help if you have trouble finding an item.


Reference assistance is available; ask at the Reference desk, call 362-6237, or email us. Opportunities for assistance include individual appointments and classroom instruction sessions.


All are free to use the government documents collection; you do not have to have a connection with the university. Wyndham Robertson Library is committed to providing the public with open, free access to our government information materials, according to the rules of the Federal Depository Library Program and Title 44, section 1911 of the U.S. Code.

To access the university network computers (including computers in the library) for online research, patrons who do not have a university account are asked to sign in at the Reference desk on the first floor. Please provide proof of identity with two forms of ID. No filtering software of any kind is used on the library computers, and the library does not monitor anyone's browsing of reading activity. A Government Documents Workstation computer is made available specifically for government information research. It is located on the first floor, next to the Government Documents stacks. It has DVD capability and has access also to our library catalog and online databases. *Note: our paid subscription databases are not government material; they are therefore not available to non-Hollins users.

For questions about Hollins University computing policies, please contact our Computer Services Department.

Access to Reserve items: in the case that a government document has been placed on reserve by university faculty, it may be obtained for in-library use by any patron requesting the document, using a manual check-out procedure. Request the document at the circulation desk. The document will be made available with the option of 2-hour, 1-day or other check-out periods as designated by the faculty.


Most of our government documents, maps and CD-Roms may be checked out with a valid Hollins ID card. Some materials have a "do not check out" sticker instead of a barcode; they are for in-library use only. Microfilm and microfiche materials are in-library use only.

If a document has neither a sticker nor a barcode, please contact the Government Information Librarian (362-6237). Before we check it out to you, we would like to make sure the document is in our system. It will be made available to you by the next working day.

Non-Hollins users who wish to check out materials should contact our circulation department to get a guest borrowers card.


Library users can print from most terminals in the library to printers located on the ground and second floors. After clicking on File - Print, please check to make sure you know which location your print job is headed to.

Our copy machine is located on the first floor next to circulation. The machine accepts change and bills up to to $5. Faculty should ask at the circulation desk for the bypass key, and log the number of copies made.

For assistance with printing or copying difficulties, please ask for assistance at the Media Services Desk on the ground floor.