General policies and principles for the Library's collections are stated in the General Collection Development Policy. We acquire government documents through participation in federal and California state depository library programs, and we also selectively accept in-kind donations of government documents and other materials related to the City of Santa Barbara, the City of Goleta, and Santa Barbara County.

Purpose of the Collection

The government information collection supports research and teaching across the curriculum. As the only Santa Barbara County participant in the Federal Depository Library Program, we also serve the public within California’s 24th congressional district.

Subject Parameters

This policy includes U.S. and California government publications; local government publications; and materials supporting the location and use of these materials. Maps and geospatial resources are collected by the Map & Imagery Laboratory; U.S. Geological Survey publications are collected to add to the Science & Engineering Collection; publications of foreign governments are primarily collected under Area Studies, World History, and other areas as needed; and the publications of international governmental organizations are collected under a separate policy. 


U.S. documents are selected based upon the interdisciplinary research needs of the UCSB community. The Library also collects selected publications issued by local area government agencies. These include publications on topics such as planning, environmental impact reports (EIRs), land use, beach erosion, local county and city budgets, and statistical information.

Geographical Coverage

Although all areas of the United States are collected, special emphasis is on California and the western states, particularly California’s Central Coast.


Most publications are in English, but materials in Spanish may also be collected when available.

Chronological Limits/Period Coverage

All publications issued through the federal depository library system remain the property of the federal government. In accordance with the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program, the Library maintains all publications at a minimum of five years. Discards are first offered to the California State Library, then to other libraries in California. Most publications are kept much longer than five years to match the historical interests of our user community. Some publications are kept in perpetuity; for example, the decennial census publications. In accordance with the California State Publications manual, most substantive publications of the State of California are also retained. Most items designated for the local documents collection will be retained in perpetuity, as this represents a unique collection of research materials for our region.

Publication Dates

Supplementary materials pertaining to these collections will be collected and retained, with updated versions acquired as needed.

Types of Materials Collected

Government information includes monographs, serials, maps, integrating resources, kits, video recordings, interactive tools, data, and other specialized formats. Under this policy, materials are primarily collected in print, microformat, tangible electronic media, and digital formats.

Systemwide and Other Resources

Both the federal and California collections support shared collection development within the University of California system, primarily though participation in the Federal Document Archive project and the Library’s service as a complete depository for State of California documents.

Related Collection Development Policies

Policy Last Updated: June 2015