Government Documents

Antique Clockface entitled Maryland Room

Government documents, or "gov docs" as they are called, are publications issued by a governmental entity, no matter the size of the agency or office. Government documents come in a variety of sizes and formats - books, maps, pamphlets, and computer files, are all examples. Gov docs can sometimes be very confusing to both their caretakers and their users, but they contain valuable information that often cannot be located elsewhere.

The Maryland Room has a significant collection of government documents, mostly in "book" format, produced by the state of Maryland, Frederick County, Frederick City, and other local entities. Also in the collection are publications of the United States Federal Government. The Federal government documents are mostly census publications or relate to Fort Detrick.

The Maryland Room also collects publications of regional organizations, such as the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (Please see for the Council's most recent information.)

Maryland Room holdings include significant collections of the Maryland Statistical Abstract, the Maryland Manual, the Maryland Vital Statistics Annual Report, and the Annual Report of the Maryland State Department of Education. The current edition of the Maryland Manual is available online here and is updated daily.

Government documents can be located in the Frederick County Public Libraries Catalog, but they are generally classified differently than books. They are usually organized together by the office that published or commissioned them rather than assigned Dewey Decimal numbers.

This is a sample government document call number with an explanation of what each part of the call number signifies.

M indicates that it can be found in the Maryland Room
GOVDOC indicates that it is a government document
FRECO indicates that is is a product of the Frederick County Government
PLA indicates that it is a creation of the Department of Planning and Zoning
PLANREP indicates that it is a planning report
1995 indicates the year of publication

Government documents in the Maryland Room are arranged into the following broad categories, which reflect the call number arrangement: United States, Regional, State, Frederick County, Frederick City, and Other Municipalities. Within each broad category the documents are arranged by the office or department and within each office they are arranged alphabetically by title and then chronologically.

We have undertaken a large project to catalog many of our government documents that previously had not been cataloged. If you do not locate a particular government document, or a particular type of government document, in the FCPL catalog please speak with a Maryland Room staff member before giving up.

Some government publications in the Maryland Room are in the book collection rather than the government documents collection. These are usually sources that are more important to Maryland Room staff and patrons for the information they contain than as a product of a particular government office, or they are publications that have been in the Maryland Room for many years, prior to the establishment of the government documents collections. These government documents will have call numbers based on the Dewey Decimal system. Examples of this type of government document include the Frederick County Department of Planning and Zoning's series of historic site surveys and Maryland Natural Resources pamphlets describing Maryland fishes and trees. Some government documents are located in the library's general reference collection.

Both Frederick County and Frederick City place many of their documents online. Frederick County Government can be accessed at and Frederick City Government at

To locate Federal documents not held by the Maryland Room investigate one of the area's Federal Depository Libraries.