SLO 200

Government Information at the State Library of Ohio

Probably the oldest, and certainly the largest, program of the State Library is the Government Documents Department.  While no actual date can be determined as to the beginning of the program, it is known that as early as 1823 the State Library’s holdings included a long list of congressional publications.  The number of publications grew as the number of federal agencies grew. Documents have been received in various formats over the years, from paper to microfilm, microfiche, and digitally. Unfortunately, as the collection grew, the space did not. From the very beginning, the Library had very limited space for its documents collection.  The collection now contains over one million federal documents with an average of 7,000 being added each year.  The State Library is the only full federal depository for Ohio working with fifty other libraries in the state that are partial depositories for federal documents.

The State Library was designated in 1962 to be the full depository of state documents as well. As part of its responsibility to the other depository libraries in Ohio, the State Library published and distributed Ohio Documents Classification Scheme, a guide to those who organized or managed document collections. 

The State Library was one of twenty-two libraries in the nation selected by the U.S. Government Printing Office for a field test of document availability in microform.  The documents department was provided with a microfiche set of the Code of Federal Regulations for the test.

Many new state government publications are now being produced in electronic format and this presented new challenges for the library.  The Ohio Revised Code required state agencies to provide the State Library with one hundred copies of each publication intended for public use; however it did not provide any mechanism for handling information only produced in electronic format.  The Library purchased software to automatically gather web-based State of Ohio publications.  Library staff create catalog records for these items in the on-line catalog, and then add electronically-published materials to the online digital repository, Ohio Memory.  We also regularly digitize our earliest state government documents to facilitate access; digitized documents are also available in Ohio Memory in the following collections:

State Library of Ohio Historical Documents
State Library of Ohio State Hospitals
Treasurer of the State of Ohio Annual Reports

~ “Government Information at the State Library of Ohio,” SLO 200, accessed June 23, 2018,