Government Document Collection

The Lillian Goldman Law Library is a United States Federal Depository Library. The purpose law library’s collections is to serve the needs of the Yale Law School’s students, faculty, administrators, and staff. The Library is also committed to providing free and unimpeded public access to government documents, both for its primary users and for the general public. The depository library logo is posted at the Library’s outside entrance and in several locations throughout the library.

General Information

In general, the Law Library elects highly selective methods for comprising its government documents collection, as it enjoys the strong support of the Yale University Library’s Government Documents Center. The library has a small collection of United States government documents related to law and policy. We also have major reference works produced by the government.

In addition to the Federal Depository Library Program, we serve as a depository for records and briefs from the Supreme Court of the United States.

The Government Documents Librarian and the Library’s Technical Services Department work together to process all new government documents. New titles received in tangible format are cataloged or checked-in through the library’s catalog. Bibliographic records for e-resources are batch loaded regularly from a vendor. The law library no longer weeds FDLP titles. All tangible items are retained in the stacks or offsite at the Library Shelving Facility.

Yale University Library has been a selective depository for U.S. federal government publications since 1859, and has a selection rate over 80%. Other depository libraries in the area include the University of New Haven and the Connecticut State Library in Hartford. The Connecticut State Library receives all materials distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program and retains them permanently. It also serves as a resource for all selective depositories in its region, including interlibrary loan. Research librarians can assist you with your research and help you locate hard to find documents, even if they are at other libraries in the area.

The law library provides access to information in any format currently available. Subject strengths of the collection include congressional publications, tax materials, criminal justice, and judicial procedure guides. We select titles that are primary sources of law, are related to the lawmaking process or are of specific interest to our primary patrons (e.g., public policy materials). Superior reference assistance is provided to patrons using the government documents collection. To this end, we purchase numerous commercial finding aids, indexes and complements to the documents collection. The focus of the collection is on efficient and permanent access to a robust collection of law-related government documents.

Public Service Policy for Government Information in Electronic Format:

Reference service includes assisting all patrons to locate government resources in the library’s collection and in other depository libraries. Reference librarians provide individual research guidance and training on specific resources for finding government documents. View the research page of the Law Library’s website for more information.

A variety of computing facilities are available in the Law Library. Desktop workstations in the main Reading Room permit searching library catalogs and access to the internet for research of government documents. Electrical and network connections, including guest wireless access, are available in the main Reading Room for laptop computers.

Patrons may access the internet to access government documents in the FDLP electronic collection from any public workstation in the library. In addition, public patrons may use the guest wireless network, in accordance with the university’s acceptable use guidelines, to access all online government information from their own computers (licensed databases are not available on this network).