Office of Policy Analysis

 

Library and Information Services

 

Library and Information Services provides reference and research services to the General Assembly and its staff and legislative information to the public. The Library contains over 85,000 volumes, including the Laws of Maryland since 1637 and House and Senate Journals since 1826, as well as all other State and federal laws. An extensive collection of materials related to bills introduced in previous legislative sessions consists of committee files and votes, floor votes, indexes, and other valuable documents. Librarians use these resources and others in the collection, as well as standard library resources, including online databases and the Internet, to provide information on public policy topics and other reference information of interest to the legislature. Librarians index bills, laws, and other legislative publications. Additionally, by law, through the Library, the Department of Legislative Services serves as the official depository for all State agency publications and for all county government codes. Maryland Documents, a listing of the State agency publications, is distributed each month to legislators and staff.

 

In addition to traditional library functions, staff also writes, edits, and coordinates the preparation of legislative documents and materials for a diverse audience. These include publications such as the Daily Synopsis, the Committee Meetings and Hearing Schedule, and the Roster and List of Committees. Staff also prepares the Maryland Clipper, a compilation of newspaper clippings of interest to the legislature, daily during session and weekly during the interim. Legislative Information Desk staff responds to requests for legislative information from the public over the telephone, via email, in person, and through the distribution of numerous legislative documents.

 

Coordinating the General Assembly's educational and visitors' programs for schoolchildren, constituents, public interest groups, and international dignitaries, many of whom are legislators in their own countries, is an important part of this unit's work. On request, staff arranges and conducts programs throughout the year, customizing each visit to specific areas of interest. Requests may come from legislators, directly from citizens, or from teachers and parents. Visits to the General Assembly by officials from other states and countries are usually coordinated by Library staff in conjunction with the United States Information Agency, Congressional Research Service, National Conference of State Legislators, Maryland International Center, Maryland Sister States Program, or other similar agencies and organizations. Staff also conducts workshops and orientations about the legislative process and the General Assembly on request.