Government Documents

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NOTE: Due the need for social distancing, the Reed Library -- including the Government Documents collection -- is temporarily unavailable to the general public. If you have a research question about government information, contact us at and we will try to assist you remotely.

Reed College used to receive approximately 38 percent of U.S. government publications distributed to libraries in paper, microfiche, and CD-ROM formats from 1912 - 2012. Most government documents currently in the collection are from online sources. Access to the collection and to U.S. federal depository government information on the internet is available to members of the Reed community and to the general public. For more information about the collection or help locating a document, contact:


The collection contains many historical series with holdings dating from the nineteenth century. Highlights of the collection include:

  • Primary documentation of the United States Congress, including online access to the Serial Set, public laws, congressional reports and documents, transcripts of hearings, and the Congressional Record.
  • Publications of the executive branch, including presidential speeches and public statements and proposed rules and regulations.
  • Supreme Court decisions.
  • Publications on American foreign policy from the U.S. Department of State.
  • Historical statistical series issued by many government agencies, including the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Reed College documents collection is shelved by Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) number in the Center Stacks, Lower Level 1. In addition to the paper collection, many government documents are issued as microfiche. They are filed by SuDoc number in the Microforms Room and available by request. Selected high-use or special format government documents are housed in the Reference Room or in other parts of the library.

Reed's library reference collection contains several databases, catalogs, and indexes that can be used to locate any government publication, not just those in its own documents collection.  See the Government Documents subject guide for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions about Accessing U.S. Federal Depository Documents at Reed

Q. Who is eligible to use the U.S. federal depository collection at Reed College Library?
A. Any member of the Reed community or the general public may use the collection.

Q. May I check out U.S. government publications from the collection?
A. If you are a member of the Reed community (students, faculty, staff, alumni), or if you have borrowing privileges at any of the libraries in Orbis Cascade Alliance, you may check out government publications just as you would any other item from our collection. Others may use U.S. government publications here in the library, photocopy at a cost of five cents per page, and download U.S. government information on the web without charge. Librarians also can help you identify other collections in the area that may be able to provide you with borrowing privileges.

Q. I would like to use online U.S. federal depository information while visiting the Reed library. How can I gain access to the internet?
A. Please ask for assistance at the library reference or circulation desk. A member of the library staff will log you into one of the library computers as a guest, or will log on your laptop to the Reed network so that you may access U.S. federal depository information.

Q. I would like to print out U.S. federal depository documents. Can I do that at your library?
A. Yes, please ask for assistance at the library reference or circulation desk. You may print up to 50 pages of U.S. federal depository documents per visit to the library.