We’re Having an FDLP Anniversary!

On December 19th, 1963, Senators Carl Hayden and Barry Goldwater designated the State of Arizona Research Library as a regional Federal Depository Library for the state of Arizona.

A Federal Depository Library is a library that has agreed to make U.S. government information available to the public. There are more than 1100 of these libraries that make up a national network, and 11 of them are in Arizona. This map will show you the location of all of the Federal Depositories in the United States, including the ones right here in Arizona.

fdlp logo

What kinds of things count as “government information”?

We collect federal agency publications from more than 100 agencies across all three branches of government. You can find everything from Supreme Court opinions to Congressional hearings to topographic maps of the White Mountains here at the library. Whenever the Census Bureau releases new data, or NASA publishes a new study of Mars, these materials join nearly 200 years of history in our Federal Documents Collection.

Our collection is made up of many formats. Most of our items are in print, which includes books, newsletters, pamphlets, and Braille books. We also have maps, microfiche and microfilm, CDs and DVDs, kits, posters, calendars, and even puzzles!

Libraries in the United States have been collecting government information and making it available to Americans for almost as long as the country has existed. In 1813, Congress began distributing official publications to libraries, and in 1895 formally established the Federal Depository Library Program or FDLP. Thus libraries all over the nation were called to action to ensure the people could learn about their government.

The Territorial Library of Arizona was established in 1864 in Prescott, the Territorial Capitol at the time. The earliest library catalog we have is from 1865. This excerpt from the handwritten list of books in the library shows that we were collecting federal publications at least that early – the Territorial Library included the full Eighth U.S. Census, Smithsonian Institution publications, and reports of the Department of Agriculture, Indian Bureau, and Land Office:

S.T.A.R.L. Library catalog from 1865

In 1962, a major change was made to the Federal Depository Library Program. With the Depository Library Act of 1962, up to two libraries in each state could be designated as Regional Depository Libraries. These libraries would be responsible for maintaining complete collections of government publications, and providing services to the other depository libraries in their state, with the goal of ensuring that everyone in their state was able to access government information easily. In 1963, both the Arizona Department of Library and Archives (later to become the State of Arizona Research Library) and the University of Arizona were jointly designated as regional depository libraries by our two Senators at the time, Carl Hayden and Barry Goldwater.

Hayden-Goldwater designation of the Arizona Department of Library and Archives and U of A library as Regional Depository Libraries- 1963



Publications we received in 1963 include “Effects of drought in the Colorado River Basin,” “Damage to livestock from radioactive fallout in event of nuclear war,” and hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities.

The University of Arizona library is no longer a regional depository library, but it is still in the FDLP, along with 10 other libraries in Arizona. As the sole remaining Regional, the State of Arizona Research Library serves as a statewide hub for U.S. government information and provides services to the other depository libraries and to the public.


Want more information?

Check out this short history of the FDLP: Fulfilling Madison’s Vision – the Federal Depository Library Program.

Coming soon: a timeline of the history of the State of Arizona Research Library as a Federal Depository Library!


Arizona’s Territorial Legislature

Arizona’s Legislature met to debate the issues of the day and pass laws, long before Arizona became a state. The Legislature met in Prescott between 1864 and 1867, and again between 1879 and 1889. In between they met in Tucson, before settling in to Phoenix in 1891 to stay.

We have copies of the enacted laws (“Session Laws”) passed by the Territorial Legislature dating from 1864 until Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912. We were the “Valentine to the Nation”. We also have copies of the Session Laws passed since Statehood, which you can research in print in our Reading Room or browse online on the Arizona Memory Project here.

Session LawsWe think it’s vital to preserve these irreplaceable materials. We keep a print copy that is accessible to users. We also make digital copies of everything we can, and post them online so people can access them from anywhere there is an internet connection. We set aside a good-quality preservation copy of each document. Then we select multiple duplicates whenever possible to use as replacements for the accessible copies. We keep the preservation copies and the duplicate replacement copies in separate climate-controlled spaces to assure that the information in them will not be lost.

These may not be things to curl up on a comfy couch and read. But preserving them is just one of the many things we do here at the State of Arizona Research Library.

If you wish to come see the Session Laws or any other historic or current law material in person, stop by the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building at 1901 W. Madison Street, Phoenix any Monday through Friday (except state holidays).

Cinderella minus her prince…


One of the great things about packing our collections for the move is that we’re getting a chance to go through everything. We have a lot of stuff. Aside from the million or so books, we also have puzzles, kits, posters, and games. If it was published by the State of Arizona or the Federal Government in the last 100 + years, we probably have it around here somewhere. Some of the older stuff can be pretty dated, but it’s part of our government’s history, and our role at the Research Library is to preserve that history, make it accessible, and learn from it.

With that in mind, we found this training game in our State Documents collection: Cinderella Minus the Prince: The Displaced Homemaker.


It was developed in 1980 by The Project for Homemakers in Arizona Seeking Employment (PHASE) and the University of Arizona, with a grant from the Arizona Department of Education. The objectives, as stated in the instructions, are:

  1. To heighten the awareness of the needs and concerns of displaced homemakers; and
  2. To become aware of the intense feelings and sometimes desperate concerns of the displaced homemakers.

Here is the basic premise of the game: players each adopt a persona of a “displaced homemaker” — which is a recently divorced or widowed woman.  The personas are very specific — detailing age, race, and health, as well as the number of children each has. Each persona is assigned a number of points.


The game progresses as the displaced homemakers gain support from a variety of resources by attending community college, seeking counseling,  or receiving assistance from family, religious organizations, women’s groups, and employment agencies. The players progress around a room, stopping at each of these service providers and drawing a card.


One of the key takeaways of this exercise is that the resources that are supposed to exist to support these women do not always come through. As often as these cards state a positive outcome and increase the player’s points, they may also throw up a roadblock and take points away.


The point of this game is apparently not to make displaced homemakers aware of services, but to educate those who might be providing the services. Preparing people to re-enter the workplace after a long gap in employment is an important job, and understanding the specific fears and frustrations of displaced homemakers can only smooth the process.

Although this game is nearly 40 years old, after reviewing its contents, it’s obvious that the challenges facing displaced homemakers have not changed.  And neither has their need for support and services. That Arizona State Department of Economic Security has a webpage for “dislocated workers” and the Arizona Job Connection has a portal that includes resources for training and education.

And libraries are another resource for displaced homemakers. During the Great Recession, job help hubs began appearing in public libraries across the country. Libraries offer technology classes, resume writing workshops, and education tools. The Digital Arizona Library offers a number of these tools online, including Career Transitions, Learning Express Library, and the  Testing and Educational Reference Center.

And don’t forget, libraries still provide free books too.


New Hampshire State Library: 300 Years!

One of our fellow state libraries, New Hampshire, is turning 300 this year! The New Hampshire State Library began with two books and a proclamation by the New Hampshire General Assembly.

To learn more: http://nhpr.org/post/nh-state-library-first-nation-celebrates-300-years#stream/0

To learn about the history of the Arizona State Library: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/ref/collection/ann/id/62


Ever wonder about Federal Depository Libraries?


This post from Free Government Information might seem a little inside baseball to some, but it does a great job explaining why the Federal Depository Library Program (of which the State Library is a member) is so important to both preserving and accessing information produced by the federal government.

For more background info, check out our Facebook page:


To read the article:


The Future of Libraries


The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records seeks your input…

Every year, the state library uses LSTA funds to provide statewide projects and fund LSTA subgrants. These funding decisions are based on the LSTA Five Year Plan. We are coming to the end of the five year cycle, and now we want you to tell us what worked, what didn’t, and what you would like to see in the next Five Year plan.

We work hard to understand the needs of all libraries and library users across Arizona, and the information we gather from the Five Year Plan evaluation is one of the most important ways we gather that data.

So what did you like over the last five years? What would you like to see more of during the next five years?


Survey closes January 1, 2017