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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.

Apr 06

Sign Up for a State Library Card and See the Materials Available

Posted on April 6, 2015 at 12:00 AM by Sarah Tenfelde-Dubois

Any person over the age of 18 who is a resident of Kansas can come into the State Library to check out, or use, the resources the library has available.
In order to check out materials, patrons do need to apply for a card and present a valid Kansas ID, a process that takes just a few minutes. The cards are good for three years, which are then able to be renewed. Materials can be checked out for three weeks, but can be renewed up to two additional times if there are no holds for that particular item.

The State Library has an interesting collection of books within our general reference section. There are quite a few biographies on presidents, and their papers, in this collection. Also, the State Library provides the option for inter-library loan (ILL), which is handy if patrons who come and look for something we might not have in the collection. If that is the case, the library can ILL another title for the patron. The option for Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is also available for non-Topeka residents through the patron's local library.

Another area of interest is the Floating Playaways collection located to the right of the circulation desk. The Playaways portion of the library’s website offers more detail about them, as well as links to lists of all the available Playaways throughout the library system in Kansas. Just contact your local library if you would like to listen to a particular title on the list.

Of course, the State Library also has federal documents, and state documents, for patrons to peruse and check out. The library also has a collection of legislative documents that are available to be read in the library, since not all circulate.
Not wanting to check out print books, or travel to Topeka to view the collection?  Check out the library’s Digital Book eLending webpage, which are available for all Kansas residents across the state, and requires a Kansas Library Card. Information for the card is available at the First Time User page. Talking Books are also available for reading help for anyone with a visual impairment, physical impairment or reading disability.

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

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