Western is a depository library for U.S. government publications. The federal government sends WWU thousands of publications, which the university promises to make available to the public. Western has been a depository since the 1960s and has hundreds of thousands of federal publications.
Western is also a depository for Washington state documents. We were also a depository for Canadian federal documents until the program was cancelled in 2013. Besides paper, fiche, CD-ROMs and posters, Western sometimes receives exclusive access to federal websites. For example, the Homeland Security Digital Library is only available through depository libraries.
Most government documents circulate. They can be checked out by anyone with valid identification, not just Western students. People can also borrow them through InterLibrary Loan at their public libraries.