Government Documents

The Government Documents area of the Information Services 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. 

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 Information Services Section are included in Broward County Library’s online Library Catalog.

Government Information Users needing access to Government Information
The Broward County Main Library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the Government documents collection is guaranteed by public law. (Title 44 United States Code). A dedicated computer is available at the Main Library Reference Desk on the 5th floor for users of government information. Contact the Main Library Information Services Section for more information.

State Documents
A depository for state documents since 1968, the Information Services 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
Publications from local government agencies, emphasizing documents from government agencies of Broward’s County and select 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 Information Services 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
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 Information Services 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 Information Services 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 Information Services Section. They contain research materials, both current and retrospective, in a wide variety of fields. Special sets include a near-complete historical collection of statistical censuses of U.S. population, colonial records, Indian tribal codes, and many others.

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

Government Forms, by Agency - Wide variety of forms from federal government agencies. Data and Statistics about the United States - Statistics compiled by federal government agencies.

GPO Monthly Catalog - 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.)


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:

  • - Current editions of federal government publications including the Congressional Record, United States Code, and Code of Federal Regulations.
  • - Websites of most federal government agencies.
  • My Florida - Websites of most of the government agencies of the State of Florida.
  • Broward County - Information about Broward County, list of websites of Broward County governmental agencies and municipalities.


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 Information Services 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 Information Services Section at 954-357-7439 for information related to county and municipal documents.)

The Information Services 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.
  • 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).


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