MD Legislative Library & Information Services

The Maryland Legislative Library and Information Services provides the General Assembly and its staff with research and reference services. The library also provides reference services, research services, and legislative information to the public. You can check out their hours of operation here. The library can be an invaluable resource for Maryland legislative research and current legislative events. The library’s extensive collection includes the Laws of Maryland dating back to 1637 and the House and Senate Journals dating back to 1826. In addition, the library is the official depository for all Maryland State agency publications and county government codes with many recent documents available online, including Mandated Reports, which are available here. The library catalog is accessible online.

The library staff also coordinates educational programs for visitors to the General Assembly, including tours of the Maryland State House, legislative complex, and governor’s residence. Last year, I participated in a tour the State House and Legislative Complex organized by the library and really enjoyed learning more about the history and inner-workings of the State House and General Assembly.

If you are new to Maryland legislative research, the Library and Information Services provides quick-start guides/resources to understanding the legislative process. Check out these resources.

For those you who wish to stay current on what’s going on in the General Assembly, check out these resources.

In addition to the library, the Maryland General Assembly’s website provides a wealth of information for legal researchers. Stay tuned for a post on search tips for the Maryland General Assembly’s website.

lawlibrary Library Legislative Day Pro Bono Self Represented

Maryland Library Legislative Day Recap

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On February 18, 2015, the Law Library participated in Maryland Library Legislative Day! Librarians and library supporters from across the state convened in Annapolis to support and advocate for Maryland public libraries. The day got off to an early start with a continental breakfast provided by the Law Library Association of Maryland (LLAM). During breakfast, the Legislative Panel of the Maryland Library Association (MLA) briefed the participating librarians and library supporters on talking points and the key issues to keep in mind as librarians and library supporters met with legislators and other officials.

After breakfast, participants headed to the State House for the Senate presentation and the House presented. John Venditta, MLA President, and Irene Padilla, State Librarian, presented on the House Floor. John Venditta and Irene Padilla, along with Jay Bansbach from Maryland State Department of Education School Libraries/Maryland Association of School Librarians and Jim Rettig from the Congress of American Library Directors of Maryland presented on the Senate Floor. At the conclusion of the presentations, participants made delegation visits. That evening, participants took part in the Legislative Reception in the President’s Reception Room in the Senate Office Building.

Why do we support and advocate for Maryland public libraries? Over 58% of Maryland’s total population are card carrying library users, and these 3 million plus library users span every age group. Public libraries provide support, resources and educational opportunities for children of all ages with programs such as pre-school reading preparedness, STEM and coding classes for school-aged children, and summer learning opportunities. Library users also include adults of all ages and occupations. Maryland public libraries support and sustain Maryland’s workforce and communities through professional development, job search assistance and resume writing. Public law libraries, like the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library, provide library users, including self-represented litigants, with access to legal resources and legal information as well as host legal aid programs such as our Ask A Lawyer in the Library Program.

Save the date for the 2015 AALL Lobby Day, organized by the American Association of Law Libraries, on March 18, 2015 and National Library Legislative Day (NLLD), organized by the American Library Association, on May 4, 2015 and May 5, 2015. Both national events are in Washington, D.C., and aim to champion funding for libraries and raise awareness of library-related issues. Participants will include library supporters, leaders, and patrons who gather to meet with their respective members of Congress. If you are unable to make the trip to Washington, D.C., do not fret, virtual events are also available!

lawlibrary Library Legislative Day

MLA’s Maryland Legislative Day

On February 23, 2011, librarians from across the state came to Annapolis for the Maryland Library Association’s Maryland Library Day at the legislature.  Law Librarians were represented by LLAM members Jackie Curro, Pat Behles, Susan Herrick, Tonya Baroudi, and Janet Camillo.

The Anne Arundel County Public Law Library has been the gathering spot for librarians to prepare for their day in Annapolis for the last few years. The first task of the day was to prepare the packets for distribution to the legislators. The folders were already filled with statewide information including the LLAM brochure.  Each county brought local information specific to their county to add to the folders. Circuit court law libraries were able to add information to the county side of the folders, too.  Bags of candy, chocolate turtles, and Maryland library buttons are also distributed to be handed out with the information packets.

As packets are prepared, a continental breakfast, provided by LLAM, is available.  Hannah Powers of Alexander and Cleaver, a firm that provides lobbying assistance to MAPLA, began the breakfast briefing by reviewing the issues facing libraries in the 2011 session.  Funding for public libraries in the budget will remain at current levels rather than increase as provided by MD. CODE ANN. EDUC. §23-503.  Although this will in effect be a decrease in funding, libraries are willing to do their part in helping the state of Maryland to recover from current budget woes. With public library funding remaining flat over the last four years, public libraries will have in fact lost more than 11 million.   Mary Baykan, legislative officer of the MLA Legislative Panel, provided those who would be visiting their delegations with talking points.  Librarians would not be asking for reinstatement of funding amounts but would instead promote public and school libraries.  Included in the message was that “over three million Marylanders have library cards; a recent Maryland poll found that Marylanders use and value libraries as an essential service and that public libraries have proven to be a life line in helping Marylanders improve their job skills; search online for employment; get an email account; and fill out job applications online, and improve resume writing skills.”

The group then headed to the statehouse to hear Maryland Library Day proclaimed in the Senate.  The gallery was packed as it was also the day that the Senate debate on the gay marriage bill was to begin. Those who were able to get a seat did find it a bit more interesting to remain in the gallery after the proclamation than in past years.

Librarians then formed into county groups and began visiting their delegations.  Some librarians were able to break for lunch at the Reynolds Tavern across the street from the courthouse.  A fitting location as it once housed the Anne Arundel Public Library in Annapolis.  The AACPLL’s “reading room” became the break spot for librarian’s throughout the day until it was time for the reception held in the Senate Office Building where was a good turnout of legislators and librarians.  The reception is another means for librarians to promote libraries to legislators but also for librarians to talk with each another. The day on the whole is also a great opportunity for law librarians to make connections with and support our colleagues in other Maryland libraries.