Reference services offered to members of the public using the depository will be comparable to the reference service given to the library’s University patrons. There are any number of specialized reference inquiries that require government information expertise that should be referred to Government Information Unit staff if a librarian in another subject specialty cannot answer them.
Patrons may be able to identify specific government publications on their own, but Unit staff help patrons who are not able to do so. Since the Central depository is the largest in Middle Tennessee, most government publications that are not available in the Library will be requested from the regional depository in Memphis or from other depositories outside the metropolitan area.
The Unit specializes in providing statistical information, including a specialized focus on Census and other demographic data. A patron with a lengthy or complex question will be encouraged to come to the library for a reference consultation, or, if our resources do not answer the question, the patron will be referred to the State Data Center or another appropriate destination. Patrons with legal or medical questions generally will referred to the appropriate library, unless the questions bear in some foundational way on the use of government documents or data related to those areas.