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From the Reference Desk...

This blog provides links to current resources to help you find what is new and noteworthy in the state of Kansas. State Library staff will highlight a topic of specific interest and supply links to important news and services in the state of Kansas.

Mar 20

How to find Legislators, Committees, and Other Information

Posted on March 20, 2015 at 12:00 AM by Brett Rurode

Legislative session is in full swing and many Kansans want to voice their opinions on various bills, but don’t know who to contact.  One option is to contact your legislators directly about an issue or bill that concerns you.  Here’s how to find them:
  1. You can determine who your legislators are by following the “Find Your Legislator” link on the left-hand side of the Legislature website:
  2. Once you know who your legislators are, you can find their contact information by looking at the rosters under the House or Senate on the Legislature website:
  3. If you have any further questions, contact the Legislative Hotline at the State Library of Kansas:

    1-800-432-3919 (in Kansas)

Kansans can also contact the committee members who are handling a specific bill that interests them.
  1. Start at the Legislative website:
  2. Under the “Bills and Laws” tab, select Senate Bills (SB) or House Bills (HB)
  3. On the right-hand side, enter the bill number
  4. Then click on the bill in the box on the middle of the page
  5. The committee(s) will be listed under Bill History
  6. If you have any questions about this process, contact the Legislative Hotline at the State Library of Kansas:

    1-800-432-3919 (in Kansas)

State Library of Kansas - Reference
Reference: 785-296-2149
Legislative Hotline: 1-800-432-3919

Feb 20

National Historic Landmarks in Kansas

Posted on February 20, 2015 at 12:00 AM by Sarah Tenfelde-Dubois

Spring is fast approaching, so a road trip to see some of the landmarks in Kansas might just be a good way to bring Kansas history to you.

A National Historic Landmark is a property that has historic value in the heritage of the United States. These landmarks are designated important to the history of the entire nation, not just individual states.  For more information, visit the National Historic Landmarks portion of the National Park Service’s website.

Kansas currently has 25 National Historic Landmarks. To find the listings for the landmarks, visit the Kansas portion of the National Park Service's website. Also, this Google map is available that has locations marked for 21 of the 25 National Historic Landmarks.

The Kansas State Historical Society also has a listing of Kansas landmarks along with information and descriptions of each place, including some explanations as to why they were added to the program. This site also has related links to most of the landmarks, where visitors can learn more about touring the sites.

For more information, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism’s Travel Kansas website also has a way to search for Kansas historic landmarks, as well as tourist spots and attractions. They can be narrowed down by region or city.

In addition to historic landmarks, the National Park Service also has information for national historic sites, forts and trails in Kansas.  Details can be found at their Kansas Parks portion of the website.  Travel Kansas also has a part of their website which points visitors to forts and trails in Kansas.

Happy travels!

State Library of Kansas Reference
Reference: 785-296-2149
Legislative Hotline: 1-800-432-3919

Jan 30

Listening Feature Available on Some State Library Databases

Posted on January 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM by Sarah Tenfelde-Dubois

The State Library’s databases are used for researching topics whose articles are suitable for all age ranges and reading levels, but did you know some of our databases have a "listen" feature for the articles too? This listen feature is great resource for persons with disabilities, and young readers who may need some extra help.

The databases that have the listen feature include Ebsco and Britannica.  For example, the listen feature in Britannica is available by clicking on the icon in the upper right corner which looks like a speaker with sound waves. This will begin reading the article.  There is a way to pause it, and skip forwards or backwards.  One other interesting note is that the listen feature highlights the sentence it is on too.

For Ebsco databases, the listen feature is also within whatever article that is searched for and can be found at the beginning of the actual full-text article. The listener can change the type of accent, and can also change the settings of the reading speed and highlighting options. Similar to Britannica, the listen feature in the Ebsco databases can highlight the sentence it is on, as well as each word in that sentence.

Also, both of these databases also have translating features, which can be really helpful for ESL students. In Britannica, the translation feature is just to the left of the read/listen function, with an icon resembling a globe. In the Ebsco databases, the translate feature is right about the title, or can be found by using the Translate Tool link in the right column.

To find these and other databases available to Kansan residents, click on The links on this page work by verifying your Kansas internet provider address. If you cannot use these links, you will need to log in with your Kansas Library Card. Any questions can be directed to Online Services and Programming at the State Library. Their phone number is 800-432-3919,  and support email is

State Library of Kansas Reference
Reference: 785-296-2149
Legislative Hotline: 1-800-432-3919