Government Documents

The Government Documents area of the Reference Section of the Main Library consists of a collection of materials serving the information needs of the general public, students, and individuals involved in business and government. From coloring books to consumer pamphlets to scholarly research, the Government Documents area makes available current and retrospective materials, produced by all levels of government, on a wide variety of topics. Formats include paper, microfiche, microfilm, CD-ROM, and online databases and websites. Librarians are available, by appointment, to assist customers who need to apply for food stamps, unemployment, or other government benefits online.

Types of Documents

The holdings of the Reference Section include the following:

Federal Documents
Many current federal government documents are now available online through the websites of the various federal government agencies. In addition, the Government Documents area (which has been part of the Federal Depository Library Program since 1967, when the documents collection was housed at the Fort Lauderdale Branch Library) also receives some of the federal documents that are made available to depository libraries in printed format. The collection features historical sets such as Papers of the Continental Congress, Official Records of Union and Confederate Armies and Navies, Confidential U.S. Diplomatic Post Records, Vietnam War Reports and Classified Histories, and National Security Files. The titles and bibliographic records for most of the federal documents in the Reference Section are included in Broward County Library’s online Library Catalog.

State Documents
A depository for state documents since 1968, the Reference Section receives publications of Florida government agencies through the State Library of Florida. Publications include annual reports, budgets, technical reports, project studies, and informational brochures. Bibliographic records of most of the Section’s state documents collection are included in the Library Catalog.

Local Documents
The Reference Section maintains a collection of publications from local government agencies, emphasizing documents from government agencies of Broward’s County and municipalities located in Broward County. Publications include budgets, comprehensive plans, ordinances, and special reports. Current information from Broward County agencies and links to the websites of local municipal agencies may be found through the Broward County Government website.

The bibliographic records for local documents are generally not included in the Library Catalog at this time. Please call the Reference Section at 954-357-7439 for information relating to local documents.

United Nations and Other International Documents
In addition to a UN documents microfiche collection, consisting of documents from 1982 through 2000, the Section has a small collection of documents from other international organizations. Some international documents may also be found on the internet. 

Patents and Trademarks
As a Patent and Trademark Resource Center since 1984, the Reference Section disseminates information on behalf of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It has the resources needed to conduct patent and trademark searches including the full text of U.S. patents from 1790 to the present. Patent and trademark information is also available through the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Print Sources
The Reference Section has many government documents in print format. For additional information on specific titles or topics, see the Broward County Library’s online Library Catalog or call the Reference Section at 954-357-7439.

Special Microform Collections
A number of full-text microform sets are also included in the Government Documents area of the Reference Section. They contain research materials, both current and retrospective, in a wide variety of fields. Special sets include a complete historical collection of statistical censuses of U.S. population, colonial records, environmental impact statements, Indian tribal codes, NASA technical reports, and many others.

The library provides access to the following government-related databases:

FedForms (website) provides access to a wide variety of forms from federal government agencies.

FedStats (website) provides access to statistics compiled by federal government agencies.

GPO Monthly Catalog (website) provides the bibliographic records of federal documents with links to full-text online documents, when available. (Look for the “Access” field in the bibliographic record and click on the link.)

These databases are also accessible by following these steps:

  • Visit the Broward County Library website
  • Place the cursor on “Catalogs and Databases” and click on “Databases and EBooks”
  • Click on “Business and Investments”
  • Choose a database

Links to Websites
To those unfamiliar with government information and organization, finding specific items can be challenging. When searching for information directly from the internet, many of the most commonly requested federal items can be found at the following websites:

ipl2:  Information You Can Trust - website
This is a searchable and annotated subject directory of internet resources that provide accurate, factual information on many topics. Select “Government” from the broad list of categories and then select a sub-topic or type a keyword in the search box.

FDsys:  GPO’s Federal Digital System - website
This searchable, full-text database includes the Congressional Record, United States Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Register, and many other important federal government publications. - website
This site is a portal to the web pages of most federal government agencies.

My Florida - website
This site is a portal to the web pages of most of the government agencies of the State of Florida.

Broward County Web Page - website
In addition to providing a great deal of information about Broward County, this website is a portal to the web pages of each of the Broward County governmental agencies as well as the web pages of each of the municipalities within Broward County.

Access to the Collection

The documents collections are organized by issuing agencies, rather than by subject, in an alpha-numeric classification system. 

Many items issued by the federal government and the State of Florida can be found in the Broward County Library’s online Library Catalog. Some listings are references to the location of print items in the Reference Section’s collection, while others include direct links to online copies of the text of the documents. (Again, since most local documents are not listed in the Library Catalog, please call the Reference Section at 954-357-7439 for information related to county and municipal documents.)

The Reference Section also has a collection of specialized retrospective indexes to specific microfiche collections. The following are among the special indexes:

American Statistics Index (ASI) for access to a microfiche library of historical statistical publications of federal government agencies,

CIS Index for access to a microfiche library of historical Congressional materials,

Index to International Statistics (IIS) for access to a microfiche library of historical statistical publications of international organizations,

Index to United Nations Documents and Publications, for access to a microfiche library of historical UN documents, and

Statistical Reference Index (SRI) for access to a microfiche library of historical statistical publications of each of the fifty states (as well as non-governmental organizations including trade and professional associations, state universities, and research institutes).



Updated 11/11​​