State Government Libraries
State governments operate many types of libraries. Those we list here have their own website and web server. Types of libraries listed below include:
State libraries: These agencies plan, coordinate and promote library services for the state's citizens. They study and report on the status of library usage in the state, manage the distribution of federal government funding for libraries, and may provide continuing education for librarians. Their responsibilities may include:
- Operating the primary research library for the state
- Collecting and preserving materials about the state and its history
- Providing statewide electronic access to library materials housed in the state's libraries
- Acting as the state's publisher or distributor of official records and periodicals
- Maintaining and circulating special collections, such as "Talking Books" for blind and physically impaired citizens or e-books
- Providing telephone or online reference services
- Operating literacy or reading programs
Law or supreme court libraries: State law libraries provide judges, legislators, lawyers and citizens access to the state and national legal documents and other materials needed for the work of the judiciary. These might include supreme court briefs, attorney general opinions, cases, statutes, regulations, legal periodicals and reports, audio and video transcripts of continuing legal education seminars, and reference works.
State archives: A primary mission of archives is to preserve, organize and make available materials that document the history of the state and its citizens. These are useful to genealogists, historians, students, writers and researchers. Another common archive activity is to provide records management assistance to other government agencies.
Legislative reference libraries: These libraries provide legislators and the public with background resources on bills under consideration and archival material.
Virtual or electronic libraries: These virtual libraries facilitate citizen access to collections of library materials held in the state library, local libraries and library catalogs throughout the state, and to other online resources, including librarian-designed guides to the Internet. They often contain indexes for newspapers and magazines and many other consumer, business and literary databases. Some provide access to the holdings of academic, school and special libraries as well as public libraries.
Access to other libraries may be incorporated in the websites of the state departments that operate them. (To find these, please refer to the listings of departments on the State pages of State and Local Government on the Net.) For example, a state department of transportation or education might operate a specialized library of its own, primarily to serve department staff, or a state historical society might archive and make available to researchers books, periodicals and other materials that document a state's history.