Legislative Research Librarians

Newsline Newsletter

Volume XXIV, No. 1

Spring 2000



Chair's Column
Legislative Staff Achievement Awards
What’s New? 
   Smoking in State Capitols
Library of Congress
Back-to-School Day
2000 Professional Development Seminar
NCSL Publications


Chair's Column

by Susan Southworth, Connecticut
LRL Chair

While I can’t replicate a Letterman-type "top ten reasons to come to Chicago," here are some excellent enticements to encourage your attendance:

  • Chicago rocks! (OK, that was my 15-year old daughter’s contribution)
  • Presentation on copyright issues in an electronic age (jointly with Research and Committee Staff Section). I’m hoping this will foster discussion about the use/misuse of embedded web links, permissible use/transfer of electronic documents, licensing vs. copyright fees, etc. This is going to be a terrific program with a couple of extremely well qualified speakers:
  • Henry Gladney, a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Intellectual Property Rights and the Emerging Information Infrastructure, a participant in the recent study of intellectual property in the information age entitled The Digital Dilemma (National Academy Press, 2000). You might want to read parts of this before you come. It’s a challenging book that takes some time to digest but is well worth the effort.
  • Miriam Nisbet, Legislative Counsel to the American Library Association, who works primarily on intellectual property issues raised by the digital information environment, and whose previous experience includes work as Special Counsel to the National Archives,  advising the Archivist of the United States on legal matters regarding access to government records.
  • Last year the Chicago Tribune embarked on an ambitious project to digitize its 150 years of new archives. This session will give an overview of the project, describe its methods and technologies, and the dissemination of the product to the library and academic community. We are pleased that John Jansson, Manager, Information Center of the Tribune can address us, along with representatives from the vendor and marketer of the project.
  • We have been asked to offer a reprise of a program from last year for the Center for Civic Education. Using our own abundant staff talent (!) we will produce a program on the use of Internet resources in a civics curriculum. There will be an overview of the web, its products and pitfalls, followed by hands on experience for the teachers in NCSL’s cyber room. That’s where we need some librarians to work with the teachers, assisting them in their exploration of the sites we will have introduced them to in the earlier part of the program. All volunteers welcome! Give me a call or send an e-mail.
  • Luncheon business meeting with time for a free flowing roundtable discussion of topics that you bring with you. We will also be joined by Don Hunter from CSG – it will be a good opportunity to bring up any questions you may have about ISIS and STARS.
  • Joint program on customer services techniques, courtesy of another staff section, NLSSA. Come learn some the methods that provide legislators, staff and the public with top-notch service. (Also joint with other staff sections.)
  • Enjoy the company of your colleagues!

I hope the substance of this programming will encourage and allow many of you to get permission to attend NCSL 2000 in Chicago.

My thanks to those members who are chairing committees: Deb Priest, who is continuing in her able capacity as chair of the Notable Documents Awards committee. You can read the purpose and criteria for these awards on the LRL home page at www.ncsl.org. Suggestions are due NOW.

To Anne Rottman, in charge of the Nominating Committee, who will do her usual fine job – she is such a joy to work with and has been a terrific and supportive mentor;

And to Marilyn Guttromson Johnson who, as a recipient of last year’s Staff Achievement award, has accepted the responsibility for chairing this year’s committee. We will miss Marilyn and Eldo in Chicago - instead she writes that "This is my year to head to the Peace Gardens for a week of art and writing camp with friends." But she promises to be in Baton Rouge in the fall.

Keep reading, there’s more in the rest of this issue of Newsline.

NCSL Annual Meeting 2000 - Chicago


Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee

New York City
April 7, 2000
Task Force on Promoting the Legislative Institution
by Susan Southworth

Gene Rose reported on the progress of the project to highlight the chambers of the fifty states in book form. Cost projections were analyzed, and the decision was made to stay with a hard copy version. We may partner with a commercial publisher to tap their marketing skills and sales promotion ability, while making a residual off the sales.

Karl Kurtz discussed the several avenues that are being taken to promote civic education. NCSL is field tasting a guide for legislative interns that has been well received.

Fifty of ninety-nine chambers have agreed to participate in this year’s Legislators Back to School Day, and he is working on the remainder. Gene Rose has created a video that can be used by those legislators who participate.

There was discussion about the concept of a National Medal of Civic Trust, four to be awarded annually to an individual, a national organization, a legislative body, and one for each state to award. From the state winners, NCSL would pick a single state recipient. The National Association of Counties has a similar program.



Legislative Staff Achievement Awards

This year's LRL Legislative Staff Achievement Awards committee chair is Marilyn Johnson, who received the 1999 award. The award recipients for 2000 will be announced at Annual Meeting in Chicago. Here are the award criteria.

Individual Librarian

  • Provided outstanding support to state legislature or legislative institution
  • Provided outstanding support to NCSL or the LRL staff section
  • Enhanced the profession of special librarianship within the legislative context
  • Demonstrated innovative approaches to the field of legislative librarianship
  • Made a major creative contribution to enhance legislative library services in one or more of the following areas:
    • organization of information
    • integration of the library into the legislative process
    • excellent research products
    • publicity
    • excellence in reference services
    • managerial expertise
    • information technology
    • other


  • Provided outstanding support or assistance to NCSL or the LRL staff section
  • Maintained a professional, qualified staff
  • Actively participated in professional library associations
  • Contributed significantly to major developments in the field of legislative librarianship
  • Demonstrated creativity in a number of the following areas:
    • maintains a collection that meets legislative needs
    • orients new patrons to library services
    • targets services to meet legislative needs
    • integrates new technologies into legislative services
    • alerts patrons to information resources
    • other

What's New?

Included with this issue of Newsline is the 2000 LRL Directory. The directory will also be available on the LRL home page. Thanks to regional coordinators for their help to get directory updates.

Marilyn Johnson recommended including this chart in Newsline. It was originally published in the newsletter of National Legislative Services and Security staff section.


Smoking in State Capitols

The question of whether to allow smoking in the state capitol is one that comes up frequently. Although we don't have 50-state information, here are a few states that have addressed the issue: 

Alabama - Legislative rules prohibit smoking on the floor of the chamber.
Alaska - Smoking is statutorily prohibited in the chambers and public meeting rooms. Designated smoking areas are allowed by statute.
Arizona - Smoking is prohibited in any building owned or leased by the state (with a few exceptions) and smoking in the state capitol is prohibited.
Arkansas - Smoking is allowed in designated areas in the Capitol.
California - Smoking of tobacco products is prohibited in all enclosed places of employment.
Colorado - No law governs smoking, however a joint rule prohibits smoking in legislative areas except those designated by each house rule.
Connecticut - Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas.
Delaware - The state's Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in public buildings.
Florida - Smoking is statutorily prohibited in public places except in designated smoking areas.
Georgia - Smoking is prohibited by legislative rule in chambers and meeting rooms. Members may smoke in their offices.
Hawaii - State laws address prohibition and regulation of smoking in all public places and in the workplace, but do not single out the State Capitol or any other government building specifically. House and Senate rules prohibit smoking in the chamber and there are policies governing other House and Senate space.
Idaho - Smoking is prohibited by statute in all public buildings.
Illinois - Smoking is prohibited by statue and by rule except in designated areas.
Indiana - Smoking is restricted except in designated areas.
Iowa - Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas.
Kansas - Smoking in the state capitol is prohibited except in offices occupied as office space by state officers and employees which have been designated as smoking areas and other designated smoking areas.
Kentucky - Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas.
Louisiana - Smoking is permitted in the Louisiana State Capitol. However, most floors or offices set there own smoking rules. For example, in most caucuses smoking is allowed because the employees smoke. Smoking is permitted in the chambers as well.
Maine - There is no smoking in the State House or within 15 feet of any entrance. The State public smoking law requires only a smoking area and specific policy we went further to a complete ban.
Massachusetts - Smoking in the state house is prohibited by statute.
Michigan - Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas.
Minnesota - Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the Capitol under the jurisdiction of the House of Representatives.
Missouri - Smoking is banned by the House, Senate, and Governor except in designated areas.
Nebraska - Smoking in the state capitol is prohibited.
Nevada - Smoking is permitted in designated areas.
New Hampshire - There is a designated smoking area in the State House, but it is restricted to members and staff only.
New Mexico - Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas.
New York - Smoking is prohibited in all public buildings.
North Carolina - Smoking is permitted in the Legislative Building.
Ohio - No state law prohibits smoking in the capitol. However, Senate rules prohibit smoking in the Chamber and committee rooms. Members may smoke in their office suites if they so choose.
Oregon - The Capitol building is smoke free except for a small room in the basement for staff.
Pennsylvania - There is no smoking in the Capitol except for a small area in the cafeteria.
Rhode Island - Smoking is prohibited in the State Capitol and all public buildings.
South Carolina - Smoking policies must be determined by the office of government in control of the building. Smoking is limited to designated areas.
Texas - Smoking is prohibited in all public areas. Members & staff offices are specifically exempt.
Utah - Smoking is prohibited in the Capitol building.
Vermont - Smoking in the state capitol has been prohibited since 1993.
Washington - The state has prohibited smoking in public buildings since 1985.
West Virginia - Smoking is prohibited in the Capitol except in members' offices.
Wisconsin - Smoking is prohibited on the floor.
Wyoming - Smoking is prohibited in the Capitol building.



Library of Congress


From: AP / LAWRENCE L. KNUTSON, Associated Newsgroups:
Date: Monday, April 17, 2000 12:20 AM
Subject: America's Library Reaches 200
WASHINGTON (AP) -- As an idea goes, this one was small caliber, just one of many administrative details that Congress had before it in the spring of 1800 as it prepared to move to a new capital city.
The seed of the idea that would become the Library of Congress lay in the fact that while there were sufficient libraries in Philadelphia, where the U.S. government had resided for a decade, there were none in Washington, where the government would soon be. That the library would grow into a pre-eminent world institution was beyond imagination.
On April 24, 1800, President John Adams approved an appropriation of $5,000 to purchase "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.''
Books, mostly on history, economics and law, were ordered from London. They arrived in 1801 and were shelved in the new U.S. Capitol. The collection consisted of just 740 volumes and three maps.
Next Monday, millions of books and much history later, the Library of Congress celebrates its 200th anniversary as an institution that grew, in the words of one of its biographers, into "a symbol of American democracy and faith in the power of learning."
The celebration includes a major exhibition, "Thomas Jefferson," featuring the first-ever reassembly of Jefferson's 1815 library in one place, arranged by the system he devised. A commemorative stamp and two coins will be issued. A new Web site for families, "America's Library," will be introduced.
When it still amounted to little more than a few books on a few shelves the library had the good fortune to capture the interest of the one American with perhaps more interest in books than any other. "I cannot live without books ...," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1815.
As president in 1802, Jefferson approved the first law setting out the role and functions of the new library. While the law gave Congress the authority to set the library's budget, it awarded the appointment of the Librarian of Congress to the president. That gave the new institution a government-wide reach.
In August 1814, an invading British army intervened. It seized Washington and burned the White House and the Capitol. The Library of Congress, which by then had about 3,000 volumes, was destroyed.
With one act, Jefferson became the founder of the Library of Congress as it now exists. "I learn from the newspapers that the vandalism of our enemy has triumphed at Washington over science as well as the arts, by the destruction of the public library with the noble edifice in which it was deposited," Jefferson wrote in a letter that September.
By then retired to his home at Monticello, Jefferson offered Congress the opportunity to buy his private library which then totaled nearly 6,500 volumes. The purchase was approved. The price was almost $24,000.
Jefferson called it the "choicest collection of books in the U.S." He voiced hope it would have a permanent influence "on the literature of our country." Acquiring Jefferson's books was a step in that direction. It offered the Library of Congress the chance of establishing a comprehensive, universal collection.
When delivered in a caravan of horse-pulled wagons, Jefferson's library expanded the breadth of the collection dramatically. It added books on architecture, the arts, science, literature and geography.
"He believed that the American legislature needed ideas and information on all subjects and in many languages in order to govern a democracy," writes library historian John Y. Cole in "Jefferson's Legacy, A Brief History of the Library of Congress."
Anticipating the argument that his collection might be too comprehensive, Jefferson argued that there was "no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer."
Commenting editorially on July 15, 1815, "The National Intelligencer," Washington's first newspaper, said: "In all civilized nations of Europe there are national libraries ... In a country of such general intelligence as this, the congressional or national Library of the United States (should) become the great repository of the literature of the world."
At Monticello, his hilltop home in Virginia, Jefferson quickly began to restock his own empty shelves, telling John Adams that now he was retired from public life he was reading more for amusement and pleasure than for practical use.
By the time he died in 1826, he had more than 1,000 volumes. The institution he rescued also never stopped collecting. "Jefferson gave us the rationale for today's library," says Cole who is also director of the Library's Center for the Book. "Today the library is a world library," he said. "We serve the world and we collect the world."
EDITOR'S NOTE -- Lawrence L. Knutson has reported on the White House, Congress and the history of Washington for more than 30 years.
Reprinted with permission of The Associated Press


America's Legislators Back-to-School Day

September 15, 2000

The America's Legislators' Back to School Day is a new program of the Trust for Representative Democracy, sponsored by NCSL and supported by education organizations.


Your Ideas Matter
That's the message lawmakers will bring to students across the country when they visit classrooms during America's Legislators Back to School Day.

Scheduled for September 15, 2000, and slated for the third Friday of every September, this special day gives elected officials in all 50 states and the territories the opportunity to meet personally with their young constituents and to answer questions, share ideas, listen to concerns and impart a greater understanding of the legislative processes necessary for developing effective public policy.

Sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures, America's Legislators Back to School Day is designed to teach young people-the nation's future voters and leaders-what it's like to be a state legislator: the processes, the pressures, and the debate, negotiation and compromise that are the very fabric of representative democracy.

America's Legislators Back to School Day is an opportunity to provide young people with insights into the roles and responsibilities of state legislatures. Most important, it's an ideal way to establish a powerful connection with our nation's youth, get their thoughts and perspectives, and inspire their active involvement in the democratic process.

Pilot Program Takes Off
The Back to School Day concept was initially developed and carried out as a pilot project in 1999 in Arizona, California, Iowa, Massa-chusetts, Nevada and Ohio. The pilot program was a resounding success, reaching thousands of students. Now the program's outreach efforts are being extended to all of America's youth-to get them thinking and talking-because their ideas matter.
NCSL's partners in this project include the Center for Civic Education, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. These organizations stand ready to send letters of endorsement to their members urging them to invite lawmakers to their schools. In the months to come, each participating legislature will appoint a legislative coordinator who will help set up school visits and provide program and evaluation materials.

NCSL Contacts
For more information on the Legislators Back to School Day program, contact NCSL staff Jan Goehring, (jan.goehring@ncsl.org) or Karl Kurtz, (karl.kurtz@ncsl.org) at (303) 364-7700, or visit the Civic Education page on NCSL's web site.

Resource and marketing materials for America's Legislators Back to School Day are available to legislators, schools, teachers and the media, through NCSL. Resources include talking points about legislators' roles and the legislative process, as well as age-appropriate material for student activities. There is also follow-up material for teachers' classroom use.



2000 LRL Professional Development Seminar

October 19-21
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Details to follow in the summer issue of Newsline



NCSL Publications

Copies of all NCSL publications listed here are available from the Marketing Department at 303/364-7700.


  • New Markets for Wind: Creating Competitive Advantage
  • Understanding Consumer Demand for Green Power
  • Priority Education Issues 1999: A 50-State Survey of Enacted Legislation
  • Native American Issues: State Legislation 1999
  • State Budget Actions
  • A Place to Call Home: Adoption and Guardianship For Children in Foster Care
  • Enabling Legislation: State Children's Health
  • Insurance Program 1999 Supplemental Annual Report
  • Geographic Information Technology: A Policymaker's Guide
  • Education Reform into the Millennium: The State Legislature's Role in Building a
  • Consensus for Change (conference proceedings)
  • Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias: A Legislative Guidebook

State Legislative Reports

  • Juvenile Justice Legislation in 1999, Vol.25, No.2
  • Current Trends in Teacher Policy, Vol.25, No.3
  • Developing Recycling Markets to Boost Economic Development, Vol.25, No.4
  • Tax and Landowner Revenues from Wind Power Development, Vol.25, No.5
  • Alternative Fuels and Excise Taxes: 1999 Update, Vol.25, No.6


  • Tier 2 Tailpipe Emissions Standards, Vol.8, No.19
  • Children Exposed to Violence, Vol.8, No.20
  • The Safety of Elderly Drivers, Vol.8, No.21
  • National Health Service Corps, Vol.8. No.22
  • Reviewing Child Support Guidelines, Vol.8, No.23
  • Tax Incentives for Caregivers, Vol.8, No.24
  • State Funding for Tourism, Vol.8, No.25
  • Preventing Rail Fatalities, Vol.8, No.26
  • Newborn Screening, Vol.8, No.27
  • Protecting Genetic Information, Vol.8, No.28
  • Fighting Alzheimer' Disease, Vol.8, No.29
  • State Public Records Privacy, Vol.8, No.30




Thanks to all of the staff section members and others who submitted columns and information for this issue. Your ideas and submissions are always welcome. Newsline is published four times annually by NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section.