Columbus State University Libraries

Columbus State University is a multipurpose, coeducational, regional institution serving the diverse educational needs of west central Georgia. The university is located in Columbus, Georgia and is part of the University System of Georgia.  The institution was initially established as a junior college in 1958 and became a four-year college in 1965. The university provides a mixture of liberal arts and professional programs leading to associate, baccalaureate and graduate degrees.

CSU Libraries supports the needs of the students, faculty, staff and administration of Columbus State University, as well as the surrounding community. The library is committed to providing easy access to information and an atmosphere conducive to study and research. The library's collection development program includes print, electronic and other non-print materials that support students, faculty and staff of the university. The library staff is committed to furnishing prompt and efficient services in the retrieval of bibliographic data and materials from the collection and from other information sources to serve the needs of its patrons.

The Simon Schwob Memorial Library has been a selective depository for federal documents since April 15, 1975. It serves the Third Congressional District of Georgia. Items are selected to provide for the information needs of the congressional district, the community of Columbus and surrounding areas and the students, faculty and staff of Columbus State University. The library's government documents department selects resources in various formats in the following general subject areas: Military Science (Defense), Health, Education, Law and Regulations, Housing, Environment, Natural Resources, Law Enforcement and Corrections, Science, Business/ Commerce and Tax, and Government. The selection and administration of government documents are made in accordance with the Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the FDLP, Georgia State Plan for federal depository libraries in Georgia and Title 44. The mission of the government documents department is to collect, organize and provide free and unlimited access to the United States government publications selected by the library for its constituency.

User Base

Columbus State University had a Fall 2018 enrollment of 8,076 students that included 1,402 graduate students. 59.9% percent of students are female and 40.1% are male. 51.4% of students are white, non-Hispanic and 36.8% are black or African-American, non-Hispanic.

Full-time faculty numbers 300. Academically, the university is organized into four colleges: College of Letters and Sciences, D. Abbott Turner College of Business, College of Education and Health, and College of the Arts. The university offers 76 bachelor, 89 masters, 11 specialist and one doctoral degrees. Columbus State has a robust offering of fully online and hybrid classes in addition to traditional face-to-face learning.

Selection Responsibility

The Government Documents librarian is primarily responsible for the selection of government documents and supporting materials. The administration, receipt, processing and maintenance of the documents collection is also the responsibility of the documents librarian. The documents librarian is the Head of Technical Systems and Services. The Business Librarian assists the documents librarian with reference service and outreach. Every librarian at CSU makes collection development recommendations and decisions in his or her respective academic discipline. The government documents librarian consults with the appropriate liaison librarians when making relevant collection management decisions.


The library selects the Basic Collection either in electronic or tangible form as specified by the FDLP.

The library endeavors to select relevant items from the Suggested Core Collection. Items are selected based upon the needs of district and university patrons.

Subject emphasis is placed on items emanating from Congress, The Chief Executive, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice. The library selects publications issued by the Census Bureau with special emphasis on the region and surrounding area. Somewhat less emphasis is placed on items from Departments of State, Labor, Interior, Commerce, Energy, Treasury and NASA. Items from these resources are selectively collected.


The depository collection is organized using the Superintendent of Documents classification system. All tangible depository materials are marked with the SuDoc number and depository/date stamp. The vast majority of print items are shelved in a government publications shelf area on the main floor of the library. 

A separate microfiche collection is maintained. It is organized by SuDoc classification number. Microfiche government publications are housed in special cabinets located in the microform reading room on the main floor of the library.


All government publications are selected in the appropriate available format considering content, usage, service and storage. Usage is calculated monthly and compiled annually by keeping statistics of items circulated, browsed and accessed online. Formats include print, microfiche and electronic versions. Electronic is the preferred format due to increased accessibility online. Internet accessible computer workstations are located on the main floor of the library and provide patrons with unimpeded access to electronic resources. Free WI-FI is available in all areas of the building.

Print is a familiar choice for library patrons and is selected based on content and the availability of an electronic version.

Due to usage and availability of more documents online, microfiche is no longer a selected format. The library furnishes two microfiche readers and a microfiche printer on the main floor of the library.

Topographic maps of Georgia are selected for those geographic areas containing data relevant to the needs of the district and university. Topographic maps are no longer distributed in print form.

Selection Tools and Retrospective Sources

Selection Tools

The following resources are consulted regularly to review current item selections and to identify additions to the government documents collection:

Retrospective Sources

The Needs and Offers Lists are consulted as needed to locate absent items required for the congruity of the government documents collection.

Resource Sharing

Government publications not selected by the library are acquired through interlibrary loan or GIL Express from another USG library. Many current documents unavailable in the library catalog are available online by searching the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.  Many older documents can be found online by searching the HathiTrust.

Collection Evaluation

The depository collection is continually reviewed on an individual item number basis with the List of Classes of United States Government Publications Available for Selection by Depository Libraries to determine selection relevancy to the needs of the district and university patron. The collection evaluation is a zero-based review with the aim of selecting and deselecting items in accordance with the general standards set forth in this policy. Item numbers can be dropped or added using the DSIMS.

Weeding and Maintenance

The government documents collection is maintained in accordance with the guidelines in the Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the FDLP and the Georgia State Plan for federal depository libraries in Georgia. CSU Libraries strives to provide a piece-level record of all depository materials entrusted to the library in the ILS. All government documents are marked with the depository/date stamp and the SuDoc classification number. Government documents are timely processed and made accessible to library patronage without unreasonable delay.

Superseded documents are withdrawn and discarded routinely. Certain select superseded documents are retained for collection continuity and research purposes.

Items determined to have lost their relevancy due to the passage of time or items available freely online and not deemed desirable in tangible format are weeded and discarded in accordance with the Georgia State Plan for federal depository libraries in Georgia.

Worn and damaged documents are evaluated for replacement, substitution with an online copy, or withdrawal.


The vast majority of the tangible government documents collection is located on the first floor of the library building. Several computer workstations and microfiche readers are located on the first floor of the library. The depository documents are available for in-house use to all patrons. Some serial, frequently-used and reference government publications are designated "non-circulating". Otherwise, all patrons possessing a photo-identification enjoy circulating privileges for government publications that are not designated as "non-circulating." Access to government information and publications is enhanced by the following library services and practices:

  • The federal depository library logo is posted at the library entrance.
  • Signage is posted at the government documents area of the library.
  • The Government Documents subject guide is available through the Subject Guides link on the library home page. The subject guides are linked on the library homepage and in GALILEO.
  • Government Documents are listed in the library catalog and the GALILEO Discovery search.
  • Online documents are linked in the online catalog and GALILEO Discovery search by their PURL.
  • Many documents with full text copies in the HathiTrust are linked in the catalog.
  • There is unimpeded access to the open stacks housing the government documents collection in all formats.
  • Reference librarians and staff on duty provide government documents service.