Government Documents

The Houston Lyceum Library was designated a depository library for the First Congressional District of Texas by Congressman Charles Stewart in March of 1884. What was begun with the Lyceum has been carried forward with the Houston Public Library. As the oldest and largest depository in the Houston area, the library maintains a reference collection of over 800,000 documents from nearly every government agency. Citizens of Houston have benefited greatly the last 135 years by having free access to information generated by the federal government.

The collection currently is comprised of over 800,000 documents from virtually every agency of the federal government. Documents come in many formats including books, pamphlets, periodicals, CDs, and maps. A number of government documents are online and accessible directly from the catalog via PURL.

The Government Documents collection is a closed-stack, non-circulating collection. Search the catalog to locate items. Many items are available electronically. Check with staff to find materials older than 1976. Materials must be retrieved by staff members for use in the library. 

An extensive amount of government information is also available via the internet and serve as useful information tools:

  • Ben’s Guide to U.S. GovernmentEducational content for the public on the workings of the U.S. Government and U.S. history, with a focus on civics for K-6th grade.
  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP):  A finding tool for publications from all three branches of the U.S. government. Updated daily, it contains descriptive records for current and historical publications and provides direct links to those online.
  • Congress.gov: Provides information about legislative activities, publications, and other related materials for members of Congress and the public.
  • Economic Indicators:  Published monthly by the Council of Economic Advisors for the Joint Economic Committee, provides economic information on GDP, income, employment, production, business activity, prices, money, credit, security markets, Federal finance, and international statistics.
  • Explore Census Data (also known as data.census.gov): A source for population, economic, housing, and geographic information and data about the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Island areas.
  • Federal Register: The daily publication of the rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, along with executive orders.
  • GovInfo:  A database providing authenticated access to official publications from all three branches of the U.S. Government.
  • USA.gov: A subject-based portal to Federal services and resources online. A Spanish site is also available.
  • The United States Government Manual: The official handbook of the U.S. Government, providing information on the agencies from all three branches, quasi-official agencies, international organizations in which the United States participates, boards, commissions, and committees.
  • The White House - Official site of the White House, includes virtual library of documents, speeches, press releases, and latest news and statistics.

For additional core U.S. Government Resources, see FDLP Basic Collection: Core U.S. Government Resources.

For an additional list including historic cornerstone documents, see govinfo’s Other Resources, also known as Core Documents of Our Democracy.