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'Kansas state government'

Feb 23

The Kansas Biennal Reports, 1960-1980

Posted to KGI Online Library Blog on February 23, 2018 at 10:20 AM by Bill Sowers

For some beginning Kansas government history researchers there is a point in time when the well seems to go dry and heads are scratched wondering what the heck happened to about two decades of information on the operations of government in the Sunflower State. Agency biennial/annual reports issued for decades, some starting in the 1800s, come to an invisible wall in 1958 where the individual reports seem to end entirely.

Further poking around in Legislative journals and Session Laws in the late 1950s brings forth the answer to "Where did they go?"... The Kansas Biennial Report.  These thick volumes, issued by the Kansas Secretary of State's Office every two years for the fiscal years, 1959/60 to 1979/80, became a sort of "Readers Digest" providing basic information on the operations of state agencies.  In the 1960 report Secretary of Paul R. Shanahan states:

"The consolidated report has been prepared under a directive of the 1959 session of the legislature and supplants a longstanding statutory requirement for individual reports from the various agencies. In addition to fulfilling a legal requirement, this report also fills a moral obligation for agencies of the state government to make an accounting of their activities to all the people of Kansas. If through presentation in a consolidated volume, these individual reports bring new understanding and thus new order, efficiency and economy to the processes of the state government, the consolidated report will have served its purpose."

The State Library of Kansas has scanned and set up online the 11 volumes of the Kansas Biennal Report hopefully bridging the information gap of agency reports before 1959 and after 1980 for researchers.  You can view these reports at the KGI Online Library at:


Currently the State Library is creating short catalog records for each of the agencies within the Biennial Reports.  It's a slow process but we hope it will assist people in locating the reports for a particular agency of interest.

Nov 05

Using State Agency News Releases For Basic Research

Posted to KGI Online Library Blog on November 5, 2015 at 12:24 PM by Bill Sowers

Many Kansas state government agencies issue news releases with some frequency promoting new programs, agency employee changes, changes in regulations, etc.  Some agencies publish news releases with great regularity while others send out these newsy announcements as needed.

Having a continuous collection of news releases is something akin to having a "diary" of day to day happenings within state government.  Though most news releases just scratch the surface of events, plans and decisions they often give the researcher an idea of when, where, what, how and who in regards to agency operations.  So these information bits can give direction in narrowing searches for more in depth information.

The KGI Online Library tries to maintain as many agency news release collections as we can.  We normally gather the news releases for a single year into a large searchable document listing article titles within content notes.  Normally we provide the most recent year within our collection.  So right now the news release collections online only go up to 2014.  Then as soon as January 2016 rolls around we'll start entering 2015 collections.

Here's a sampling of news release collections in KGI Online Library:

Kansas Attorney General
Kansas Department of Agriculture
(1991-1996, 2004-2014)
Kansas Department for Children and Families
(2012-2014 - as well as Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services 1995-2012)
Kansas Department of Commerce
Kansas Department of Corrections
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
Kansas Department of Revenue
Kansas Department of Transportation
Kansas Governor's Office
Brownback (2011-2014)
Parkinson (2009-2011)
Sebelius (2003-2009)
Kansas Highway Patrol
Kansas Insurance Department
Kansas Water Office
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
(1980-2014 - Includes previous agency names)
Kansas Secretary of State

Can't find an agency you're interested in?  Check out the main listing of agencies at