Mining Your State Library

Mining Your State Library

by Tracy Wasserman, Senior Assistant, INALJ Florida

Tracy WassermanState libraries are information resource providers for their state governments, serving the information needs of state agency employees and the state legislature.  That’s their first mission.

Their other mission?  To collect and preserve the published history of their state.  The State of Florida, for instance, has a unique Florida history collection that it has been building for over 150 years.  It’s a comprehensive archive of the life and times of Florida and Floridians.  The Florida Memory collection will give you online access to primary records that illustrate significant moments in Florida’s history.  You can view full-length feature films on all things Florida, from the Everglades to mermaids.  You can browse  Florida Memory Radio and listen to over 50 years of recordings from the Florida Folk Festival, and marvel at the Florida Photographic Collection of over 180,000 Florida images (Floridians can even donate their own photographs and preserve their family legacies).

Here are other examples of information resources available through the State Library of Florida, some of which are only available to Florida residents. You may find similar resources available to you via your state library:

  • Electronic resources and databases:  The resources of the Florida Electronic Library are available to all Florida residents, and include electronic magazines, encyclopedias and books on many subjects, such as education, health, and art and literature.  It’s also a virtual reference service.
  • Statewide digital collections:  Florida on Florida is a catalog of digital material related to Florida held by libraries, archives, museums and historical societies throughout the state, and includes maps, postcards, manuscripts, books and photographs.
  • New Florida resident resources:  New residents, the State Library of Florida has you covered –this is the Sunshine State, it’s warm down here and we have no state income tax (just saying) – with links to websites from selecting a school to hurricane information and preparation.
  • Genealogy information:  Researching your Florida ancestors?  Start here.

The Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services, which manages the State Library and Archives, also provides invaluable aid in the form of continuing education for librarians and library development through workshops and webinars (check out their archived webinars), provides state aid to Florida libraries via grants, develops programming resources and activities (check out some summer library program ideas), and offers policy considerations and best practices for Florida public libraries.

So check out your state library.  It may be the gold mine you least expected!