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Reserves and Media Services/Government Information: Home

Government Information and Media Services (GIMS)

Reserves and Media/Government Information is one of two public service desks in Central Library. The department is located at the northeast corner of the main floor (4th floor) of the Central Library. The main operations of the service desk are circulating the Central Library's media materials, including materials placed on reserve, and assisting patrons with Media Services equipment (microform readers and scanners, DVD viewers, etc.).

Government Information staff are also available by request to assist with reference and any other questions about the documents collection or government documents and data in general.

DirectionsIf you are arriving via the main Central Library entrance, walk past the main circulation desk and through the columns toward the elevators, make a left, and then turn right at the corner past the men's restroom. You can also make a sharp left at the main circulation desk and walk through the columns and through the computer workstation hub, which will give you a straight line to our public service desk. If you are coming via the 21st Street side of the building, you can take the elevator in the Divinity Library breezeway to the 4th floor. Make a right as you get off the elevator, then another right past the men's restroom.

Vanderbilt's Central Library (along with the Law Library) is part of the Federal Depository Library Program.


Depository Identification 

Federal Depository No. 580 
Central Library, Vanderbilt University
Will Stringfellow: Depository Coordinator
(615) 322-2838

Federal Depository Library Program

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries are one of over 1250 participating libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The Vanderbilt Library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the library's government documents collection is guaranteed and governed by Federal law (Title 44, United States Code).

Central Library is a selective depository, meaning the library selects which documents to receive from the federal government rather than being required to receive all documents the federal government disseminates to the depository library system. Depositories receiving all federal government publications are designated as regional depositories. The Regional Depository for the state of Tennessee is the Ned McWherter Library at the University of Memphis. 

Tennessee depositories have a shared regional holdings agreement. Each of the six largest depositories (of which Vanderbilt is one) is classified as a "subregional" responsible for different classes of documents. The Central Library has been designated to hold, highlight, and make available, tangibly or electronically or both, publications from the following government branches and agencies:

  • President (all SuDocs items classed PR and PREX)
  • State Department (all S documents)
  • Patent and Trademark Office
  • Energy Research Abstracts
  • Foreign Trade Reports
  • Congressional documents (all Y documents)

Vanderbilt University has been designated a Center of Excellence by the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL). This designation helps ASERL depository libraries coordinate to enhance access to government documents by identifying and specifying which libraries in the ASERL system have the most complete collections for documents from specified government agencies. Vanderbilt and the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia share this designation for State Department documents (SuDocs classification S).

These designations do not encompass all of the government documents in the collection. The Vanderbilt government documents collection currently stands at 900,000 items and counting.

Loan Periods for Government Documents

Most government publications can be checked out for two weeks. Items are checked out from and returned to the main Circulation desk. There are no overdue fines for government documents. However, patrons may be billed for replacement and other costs if materials are lost or not returned. 

Certain categories of government publications do not circulate, such as subregional holdings and select serials. Please speak with a government documents staff member for questions about the circulation status of any government document.


Government Information and Media Services (GIMS) is almost always open the same hours as the Central Library building and the main Circulation desk. Please the hours page for further details on specific opening and closing times.