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Services for the Legislature

The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library works closely with legislators and staff members, providing answers to information requests and custom current awareness services.

Reference Services

Experienced library staff help legislators and staff obtain information, using a variety of print and electronic sources. Librarians welcome in-depth inquiries or requests for quick facts, statistics, or background on issues. All requests are confidential and all library staff are nonpartisan.

Librarians have particular expertise in state policy issues, the history of legislation, and the activities of the Legislature over time. The Library's state public policy collection is broad and deep, and expanded by extensive online resources and interlibrary loan.

Services to Help Legislators and Staff Track Issues

  • Inside Issues
    This popular service alerts legislators and full-time staff to the latest magazine articles and books on topics they choose. Are you interested in following articles on K-12 education, or nuclear energy, or property taxes? Choose from an extensive list of issues. Library staff scan magazines and new books and notify subscribers of articles which match their interests. Request any articles or books online. (Sample)

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  • watch video Contents Pages Service
    Subscribers receive the tables of contents for journals they select and order copies of any articles of interest. (Sample) It's a great way to follow many expensive and specialized magazines - all from your desktop.

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  • Just In: New and Notable Books & Reports
    Sent monthly by email. It begins with an essay about materials on a topic - such as documents on the state budget, recounts, or green jobs. Minnesota agency publications and legislatively mandated reports are clearly marked on the list.
  • Resources on Minnesota Issues
    Guides that provide an overview and background of selected legislative issues. They include an introduction to a topic and direct the user to articles, web resources, and reports, and often include legislative history sections. See as examples: Same-Sex Marriage in Minnesota and Nuclear Waste Storage in Minnesota. Some guides, such as Football Stadiums and the Minnesota Vikings, have extensive timelines.
  • Reports Mandated by the Legislature
    Legislative Reference Library staff track, obtain, and digitally archive all reports required by the Legislature.

Electronic Services:

The Library pays for key electronic resources for users within the Capitol Complex. From their desks, legislators and staff can link to the full text of newspapers such as the Star Tribune or Pioneer Press, online magazine indexes with many full text articles, and other subscription services such as CCH State Tax Research Network.

Library staff also create and maintain current and historically significant databases of legislative and state information including the Legislators Past & Present biographical database. Many are listed on the Historical Information About the Minnesota Legislature page and the Historical Information About Minnesota State Government page.

Training and Tours

Librarians frequently provide customized group or individual presentations on library research and effective Internet searching. Classes can cover general library print and electronic materials, or focus on specific resources, such as "Using the Legislative Website Effectively." Tours are encouraged for new members and staff.

To set up training or a tour, or for information on any services, contact us at 651-296-8338 or email us.

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Inside Issues • Contents Pages

A Window on the History of Legislators and Legislative Sessions

Since it began in 1969, Library staff members have built files on legislators. Older news clipping files are on microfiche (1970-1999), and in paper (2000-2009). Since 2009, news clippings are available electronically to legislators and staff.

Besides files on members, librarians can locate files on issues or legislative actions over time.

Tom Berg, former legislator and author of Minnesota’s Miracle: Learning From the Government That Worked, wrote,

The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library ... provided invaluable assistance in digging out clippings, reports, and citations that confirmed personal memories and documented important history.

Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, 645 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN  55155