Government Information Access & Public Service Policy

The Colgate University Libraries are a congressional designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents collections is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 United States Code). Colgate has been a depository library since February 7, 1902.


Members of the public have access to all federal depository collections in Case and Cooley Libraries, regardless of format or location, including LASR and Special Collections. This also includes use of the public access computers near the reference desk on Level 3. Usernames and passwords are posted on the public access computers. Visitors may use the guest wireless account for use with their laptop computer, but they will not be able to print from the laptop. Colgate University's Information Technology Policy and the Libraries' Computer Use Policy are available online and visitors should read and must abide by those policies. The policies do not interfere with access to online government information.

Materials that are rare, valuable, and/or fragile are shelved in Special Collections or in the restricted bins of LASR. These items may be requested by any librarian (please ask at the Borrowing Services Desk on Level 3 of Case-Geyer or contact the Government Documents Librarian), but must be used in the Special Collections reading room on Level 2 of Case-Geyer. The Head of Special Collections will make any decisions about photocopying government documents in Special Collections or restricted bins in LASR. The Special Collections reading room is open fewer hours than Case Library. Please view their hours on our website.

All members of the public have access to all federal depository materials and may use them in the libraries. Some visitors may qualify for Visiting Borrower privileges, which permits them to check material out of the libraries.


Users with disabilities seeking government information should ask for the appropriate service to meet their needs. Those include:

  • Retrieval of government documents from the stacks.
  • Extended loan periods.
  • Renewal of materials by phone.

Assistance in locating government information is available through the Ask A Librarian service or ask for assistance at the Borrowing Services Desk. During our busiest times of year (mid-terms and finals), it may be best to contact the Government Documents Librarian directly, either by email or phone, as demand for computers may make it difficult to research government information.

More in-depth information about accessing or finding government information can be found online through the Government Information Libguides

Online government information may be printed at no charge, within the guidelines set up for all library users:

  • Printing is limited to 100 pages.
  • Print jobs are held at a printing release station until the user is ready to print, then released by swiping an ID card or entering a username and password. Members of the public wishing to print government information can get a card for printing at the Borrowing Services Desk of Case-Geyer on Level 3. The patron will be required to leave a legal form of ID in exchange for the print card.
  • Color printing is for scholarly purposes only. Printing is done from a terminal at the Borrowing Services Desk, with permission of the staff.

Photocopying in the libraries is done using a copy card, which my be purchased in Case-Geyer. Ask at the Borrowing Services Desk on Level 3 for assistance with photocopy cards.

Some government information is only available on DVD or CD-ROM. These items may be checked out by patrons with Colgate IDs or Visiting Borrower cards. If patrons wish to use the items in the library and installation is necessary, they may ask at the Borrowing Services Desk in Case Library to have the CD/DVD installed on a public workstation. The Systems Librarian will install the CD, if technologically possible, within 1 business day.

Some government information is only available on microfiche. Equipment is available in both Case and Cooley libraries to freely view or print microfiche; equipment to scan microfiche is available only in Case-Geyer. Staff at the Borrowing Services Desk in both libraries will assisted users with the equipment, as needed.

User Behavior

Colgate University is committed to providing library users with the resources required for research and study in an atmosphere that enhances the pursuit of scholarly activity. People who engage in noisy or disruptive behavior may be asked to leave. People who are using the facilities for purely recreational purposes (i.e., playing video games, online shopping, reading email) may be asked to relinquish their computer terminals to people needing to do research. Anyone found violating Case-Geyer policies, acting in a disruptive manner, or engaging in illegal activities will be subject to disciplinary action and/or suspension of Library privileges and/or arrest.