James Bennett Childs, 80, honorary consultant in government bibliography at the Library of Congress, died Saturday at Holy Cross Hospital.

With the library since 1925, he was credited with making it one of the world's greatest respositories of official publications.

Mr. Childs' bibliographies, in which the documents of domestic and foreign governmental agencies are described, presented researchers with the first available guides to the use of such publications.

His treatises on the principles of cataloguing led to improved methods for maintaining vast collections of legislative proceedings, agency reports, executive documents, treaties and statutes.

Born in Van Buren, Mo., Mr. Childs graduated from the University of Illinois. After serving in the Army in World War I, he earned a bachelor of library science degree at the university.

He joined the Library of Congress as chief documents officer and later headed the division of documents, the catalog division, specializing in government documents bibliography before his retirement in 1965, when he became honorary consultant.

Mr. Childs was an official delegate to numerous international conferences in his field.

He received many honors, including the American Library Association's Isadore Gilbert Mudge Citation and the first James Bennett Childs Award for Distinguished Contributions to Documents Librarianship, established by the association in 1976.

In addition to the American Library Association, Mr. Childs was a member of the Inter-American Bibliographical and Library Association, the American Economics Association, the American Political Science Association, Phi Beta Kappa, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Columbia Historical Society and the Cosmos Club.

Mr. Childs had lived in the Brookland section of Washington for 51 years.

He is survived by seven sons, James Jr., of Hyattsville, Herbert Anthony, of Riverdale, Robert Felix, of Livonia, Mich., Daniel Boone, of Brookeville, Md., Rudolph William, of Rockland, Mass., Philip Dunbar, of Silver Spring, 28 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the James Bennett Childs Memorial Fund at the Library of Congress.