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Legislation establishing, “the library of the general assembly of the state of Missouri” was enacted in 1909. It was to be, “under the control of the house and senate during the sessions of the general assembly, and under the charge of the secretary of the library commission at other times.” The library collection was to include materials appropriate for legislative reference. The library was for the, “exclusive use of the members of the general assembly” (H. B. 173, 45th General Assembly).

In 1939, the Committee on Legislative Quarters and Library was established. In addition to other duties, this permanent joint committee was established to supervise the Legislative Library. The Legislative Librarian acted as secretary to the Committee. Reference service was to be provided, “exclusively to the General Assembly, its officers and employees” (H.B. 412, 60th General Assembly).

In 1943, the Committee on Legislative Quarters and Library was given additional duties and renamed the Committee on Legislative Research. The Committee was to direct investigations related to legislation and provide bill drafting assistance to members of the General Assembly. The Legislative Library was to provide reference services, “which shall be available to the General Assembly and the public.” While the library had always been open for use by the public, this was the first time reference services was to be available to anyone other than members and employees of the General Assembly (S.B. 45, 66th General Assembly).

During the 1940’s and early 1950’s, the Committee on Legislative Research Staff was housed in the Legislative Library rooms, allowing maximum access to the library collection and the librarians. In 1953, all of the committee staff, except the librarians, relocated on the first floor of the Capitol. During the 1970’s, the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate decided to each hire a permanent, full-time research staff. The Committee on Legislative Research was disbanded in 2015, and both the Legislative Library and Legislative Research staff are under the Senate umbrella.

Our mission is to serve patrons by providing excellent reference services and access to information aiding in the understanding of State Government and the legislative process. We are committed to providing a collection of current and historical documents to support effective public policy development, to document the work of the Missouri Legislature, and to “aid the members of the general assembly” (RSMo § 23.030).

Introductory Video:
Are you a new Legislator or Staff member in the Capitol Building? Check out the video below for an introduction to the Legislative Library’s resources.  

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