Libraries

Policies for Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit

Revision Date: October 16, 2013

(Check the Unit’s Web page at: http://www.wiu.edu/libraries/govpubs/ for additional information.)


Circulation:

Most government publications circulate and may be checked out, unless marked for building use only. Those with bar codes may be checked out at either the Circulation Desk (2nd Level) or the Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit Desk (4th Level). Most government publications without bar codes may also be checked out, but only at the Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit Desk (4th Level). Sample materials which do NOT circulate:

  • Census
  • Legal Reference
  • Material published prior to 1950
  • Governmental reference and legal material
  • Government and legal periodicals
  • Materials in storage
  • Atlases
  • Map Reference materials
  • Pre-1950 maps

Short-term check-out of legal reference materials or periodicals by faculty and local attorneys may be arranged by consulting Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit staff.

Renewals:
  • Same as Library (with the exception of some Maps, Atlases and Legal Reference)
Limit on Check-outs:
  • No more than 10 items may be checked out per person per day.
Overdues:
  • Same as Library
Return of Borrowed Materials :
  • Government publications should be returned to the desk from which they were originally charged.
  • Maps must be checked out and returned to the Government Publications Desk, 4th Floor, Malpass Library.
Videotapes:
  • Government videotapes are stored in the Technical Services portion of the Unit. They must be requested at the Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit desk.
CD-ROMs:

CD-ROMs are cataloged into the libraries’ online catalog and stored in a cabinet in the office area. They must be requested at the Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit. Most CD-ROMs may be checked out. They can also be requested to be loaded onto a computer on 4th floor. Please allow one working day for loading of CD-ROMs.

Books, Pamphlets, Periodicals, Maps, Kits, Looseleaf services, Microfilm, and Microfiche:
  • Shelved or filed in the public areas.
Reserve Materials:

Government and Legal Information materials placed on “reserve” by faculty are to be taken to the Access Services Unit (2nd Level) for placement on Reserve. Selected materials may be kept at the Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit desk on “hold” for several days for users.

Storage:

It is the responsibility of the Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit to retrieve government and legal publications from storage. This is most usually done on demand. When only one person is working in the office, he/she may ask the user to return later for the retrieved material.

Copy Machine and Refunds:
  • See the Libraries’ Policy on Use of Copy Machines.
Statistics:

In addition to the statistics collected for the Library Administrative Office, the Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit collects and reports other statistics as required by and for the Government Printing Office, the Illinois State Library, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Gifts and Exchange:

Gaps in the government collection are frequently filled through gifts and exchange. See Policy on Gifts for the Library. Depository regulations require the depository to use exchange lists at the state level. When we offer duplicate or discarded material on exchange, we request postage reimbursement for large shipments. When we request exchange materials, we may pay postage.

Map Collection:

The Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit Map Collection contains over 300,000 flat maps in print. Maps that are not barcoded must be checked out and returned at the 4th level Government and Legal Information Desk.

Electronic Equipment:
  • Computer Services is responsible for maintenance of microcomputers, printers, software upgrades, etc.
  • Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit staff will fix minor problems and identify other problems and notify Computer Services. Call Computer Services 298-2758 for assistance with computer problems.
  • Changes to working environment of the computer systems (e.g. software, hardware, settings, etc.) are to be made by the Libraries’ Computer Services Unit. Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit librarians may request special software for certain applications.
Library Instruction Sessions:
  • Teaching faculty may request instruction sessions for classes that need to learn about, locate and use government, legal, map and, geographic information systems and statistical data.
  • Such requests should be made through the Libraries’ instruction request form at http://www.wiu.edu/libraries/instruction/request.php#tabs-2 Teaching faculty are encouraged to contact one of the Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit librarians (298-2723 or 298-2719) at least one week prior to the requested class sessions to discuss the needs of the class.
Public Service Policy for Government Information:
  • Governmental information in all formats will be made available to all users without fee. There may be charges for copying and printing. While some materials may not be checked out of the building, use within the building is free to all.
  • Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit reference service is provided at the 4th floor information desk. See the notice at the 4th floor desk for hours of service for each semester.
  • Government information on websites is made available via the Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit website by agency, by specific publication, and/or by subject. Users can access these sites, from public workstations within the Library or from their home. Specific public computer workstations on the 4th floor may be set aside for those seeking or using government, legal, spatial and data information.
Collection Development:

Since 1962, the WIU library has been a selective depository of the United States government publications distributed by the Superintendent of Documents. In 1967, the library officially became a depository of Illinois state government publications distributed by the Illinois State Library. In 2011, the Unit became an Illinois Legal Aid Online Self-Help Center. In 2011, the Unit also became a Patent and Trademark Resource Center. The Unit also participates in the Tax Form Outlet Program. Under all of these programs, the library is obligated to provide access to needed government information to the general public, as well as to the WIU community.

The Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit will collect material to serve the curricular needs of the WIU community - as well as the needs of the general public. As a result, government material is collected from many different government agencies for a wide variety of disciplines.

Government information is collected in print, microform, and electronic, and Web formats. The majority of the federal and Illinois government publications are only available through the depository programs in an online format. So every effort will be made to catalog online titles that are part of the Federal and Illinois depository programs and include their records in the Libraries' online public access catalog.

The Unit’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center does not receive patent and trademark publications from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Instead, the Unit provides service to users to access patent and trademark information online using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Web pages. The Unit’s Illinois Legal Aid Online Self-Help Center does not receive publications from Illinois Legal Aid Online, but instead provides service to users to access Illinois Legal Aid material that is located on the Web.

Through an agreement between the McDonough County Bar Association, Ninth Judicial Circuit of the State of Illinois, the Western Illinois University Foundation, and the University Libraries - the University Libraries receives $7200.00 annually collected through McDonough County court ad litem fees. The Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit uses that money to purchase print Illinois-related legal reference titles that are of interest and benefit to the members of the McDonough County Bar Association.

Weeding of the collection is done selectively; as a research institution, almost all publications are retained for their future research value. However, space constraints demand that superseded and ephemeral materials be discarded. The Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit librarians bear responsibility for determining which materials will be discarded according to depository regulations.

Library policy provides that one copy of any U.S. or Illinois state document shall be located in the Government/Legal Information collection. As a rule, only one copy will be acquired of each document with the following exceptions:

  • Titles which are in heavy use and demand as reference tools.
  • Titles regularly used in other areas of the library.
  • Titles of local interest.

Materials for the collection are acquired in one of these ways:

  1. Free and direct from GPO’s depository program
  2. Free and direct from the state depository program
  3. Free and direct from certain issuing agencies
  4. By purchase
  5. By exchange

Non-document materials (indexes, guides, databases, etc.) are occasionally acquired to facilitate use of the collection or to supplement and explain its content. Exchange lists are used to fill in gaps in the collection. WIU users may use the Libraries’ interlibrary loan procedures to obtain government materials not held by the WIU Libraries. Non-WIU users must use the interlibrary loan services of their local public library. The WIU Libraries will loan most of its government material to other libraries’ users through normal interlibrary loan requests received from other libraries.

Weeding of the collection is done selectively; as a research institution, almost all publications are retained for their future research value. However, space constraints demand that superseded and ephemeral materials be discarded. The Government, Legal, Spatial and Data Services Unit librarians bear responsibility for determining which materials will be discarded according to depository regulations.

Website Selection Policies:

Websites are selected for inclusion on the Government/Legal Information Unit website based on these criteria:

  • Gov domain – also some .net, some .org, some .edu included if judged to be authoritative, with useful information and good organization.
  • Subject areas of interest to our users and the curricula of WIU.
  • Depository publications online.
  • Government agencies.
  • Government periodicals.
  • Sites with GIS or statistical data.
GIS and Statistical Services

The Western Illinois University Libraries' Government, Legal, Spatial and Statistical Information unit will:

  • Help users identify, locate access, format and use geospatial and statistical data.
  • Provide library users with GIS software, hardware and data.
  • Identify, acquire and provide access to geospatial and statistical data of interest to WIU students, faculty, staff, administrators and local users.
  • Educate students, faculty and staff about geospatial and statistical data available in the Libraries or from other sources.
  • Assist with use of GIS software and geospatial data by providing hands on assistance or the development of guides to accessing and using GIS software and data.

People who need assistance accessing or using GIS software and geospatial or statistical data may need to make an appointment. Please call 309-298-2723 for more information.