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Iowa DOT library services and policies

Acquisition policy

The library welcomes recommendations for new books and periodicals; however, the librarian has sole responsibility for the selection and acquisition of library materials.

Books and reports
The Iowa DOT's library attempts to acquire all publications of the Iowa DOT, Transportation Research Board and AASHTO. The librarian uses the following criteria to decide acquisition of other items.

  • Positive reviews/evaluations in accepted reviewing media and/or citation in specialized bibliographies or indexes
  • The reputation of the publisher
  • The author's reputation
  • Availability at other libraries (if the price is more than $100)
  • Membership in a series (i.e., annual proceedings, standards) that the library already has
  • Whether the book is a new edition with revised information or a reprint

Magazines and serials

The librarian uses the following criteria to decide magazine and serial purchases.
  • Indexing or abstracting by services available in the library
  • Frequency of citation in the literature
  • Availability at other area libraries
  • Multiple copies will not be purchased
  • Price and price increases
  • Volume of requests for material from the serial via interlibrary loan


The library considers discarding books when their information becomes obsolete, when it is replaced by a newer edition, when room size restrictions require a smaller collection, or when the items are not used or are damaged beyond repair.



The library's holdings will be classified and cataloged using the Library of Congress and Swank classification schemes. This database will be accessed through DOTNET and the Internet.



The Iowa DOT library is open to the public; however, some services are restricted.

The standard loan period is one month. The borrower may renew items providing no one else has requested them.


Collection description

The Iowa DOT library has nearly 20,000 books, magazines, videos and CDs. The collection focuses on transportation planning and engineering. Most of the collection consists of reports published by federal and state transportation agencies. It also has professional society and commercial publications.

Library catalogue


The Iowa DOT library was first organized in 1970. It has been under the direction of many different offices and is presently in its third location. Since June 2002, the staff of the library are employed by the Institute for Transportation, Iowa State University. The library and its physical assets remain the property of the Iowa DOT..



The Iowa DOT library reserves the right to accept or discard any donated materials as it sees fit. It will not photocopy materials unless there is copyright clearance.

Interlibrary loan

Interlibrary loan

The Iowa DOT library will attempt to borrow material from other libraries for Iowa DOT staff and InTrans personnel through the interlibrary loan service. Fees for services more than $10 will be discussed with the patron. Clients requesting an interlibrary loan must provide complete and accurate bibliographic information about the items they want to borrow.

The library does not charge for its interlibrary loan service to borrowing libraries. Arrangements will be made with foreign libraries on shipping charges.

Literature searches

Literature searches

Searches may be requested by employees of Iowa DOT, state of Iowa or local governments. Call the Iowa DOT library at 515-239-1200 or e-mail dot.library@dot.iowa.gov. Before requesting a search, consider the following issues:

  • The main topic of my literature search is ...
  • Key words to search for are ...
  • Limit the search by date published.
  • Search these media (you may check more than one): books, articles, videos, CDs, conference proceedings, training materials ...
  • The date this search is needed by is ...


The librarian provides tours of the library, staff presentations on library services (usually given to groups in their work areas), and instruction in the use of such tools as the library databases, indexes and specific reference books.

Iowa Highway Commission, U.S. 30

Special collection

The historic road file collection consists of the correspondence between the Iowa Highway Commission and Iowa-registered road associations (e.g., Lincoln Highway Association). The collection holdings date from 1913-1926.

The historic photo collection consists of more than 5,000 black and white images taken between 1914 and 1935. The collection consists largely of images related to road building. Since the Highway Commission had responsibility for roads in state parks, more than 500 images exist of Iowa state parks during the 1920s.

Reference service

Reference services

The Iowa DOT library responds to transportation-related reference questions from anyone, questions from Iowa DOT staff receive the highest priority. Iowa DOT staff may ask for information on any job-related topic. The library works with the requestor to determine the best way to deliver the answer: telephone calls, in-person visits to the library, fax, email, interagency mail or U.S. Postal Service.


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