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History of the Missouri State Library

State Publications Exchange

By the end of 1907, the Commission had secured by exchange the publications of 18 other State Commissions, which helped fulfill needs of the Traveling Libraries and the Commission's own reference department. For the traveling libraries: two full sets of Agricultural Bulletins from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the promise of other duplicates when they should be needed; booklets from the Bureau of Forestry, and several full sets of reports gifted by several Missouri Libraries. From the State, the Commission was promised a partial set of the Blue Books, copies of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, and reports of the various state departments.

Legislative Reference

With the submission of the Second Annual Report, Commission President Purd B. Wright's letter of transmittal to the Forty-fifth General Assembly on January 6, 1909, requested that a new department, Legislative Reference, be created. Purd described the proposed department as such:

"The purpose of this department as successfully developed in many other states, is to be of practical aid and value to the legislator and Sate officials in furnishing information upon any lines desired, such as copies of bills introduced in other states, comments of authorities upon same in form of clippings, and similar material. No further legislation is necessary for this."

The General Assembly of 1909 passed House Bill 173, creating a library of the General Assembly, consisting of the legislative journals and state documents of Missouri, as well as other works considered helpful to the legislature. During sessions, the supervision of the library was appointed to the Secretary of the Library Commission, under the direction of the Senate and House. At all other times, the library was charged by the Library Commission.

The Library Commission was pleased to begin arranging and caring for a legislative library and supported the 1909 sessions by creating cumulative bill indexes for use, but it had much difficulty in securing State documents for the year 1910 and had to rely on the State Library’s (Supreme Court Library) collections. The General Assembly in 1911 passed resolutions that ordered the State printer to supply 25 copies of every bill presented to the Missouri Library (14 were disseminated out to other libraries within the state and the rest were filed with the Commission) and provided for the printing of the index of bills prepared by the Commission. With judicious use of its funds, the Commission gained a legislative reference clerk, Mr. J.F. Marron, near the end of 1912 and the efficiency of Legislative Reference was increased with his aid in fulfilling research requests by legislative members and by loans from other libraries of the State.

Efforts for developing the collection would start at the beginning of the legislative year. Posts would be sent to the members requesting for a statement of the subjects pertaining to their particular interests. The Commission then sent for, classified and added pertinent materials to the department’s collection. These materials would then be drawn from to fulfill research requests. At the close of 1915, the collection of pamphlets and reports bearing on subjects of legislative action numbered several thousand and for 1916, President Arthur E. Botswick submitted to the Governor that the Commission’s immediate future need was the provision for the systematization of the legislative reference work.