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State Documents

The Louisiana Public Document Depository Program was established in 1948 to provide the citizens of Louisiana with access to information published by the state government. All state agencies are legally obligated to provide copies of their publications for distribution to the depository libraries, which are located throughout Louisiana. LSU’s Hill Memorial Library is one of three historical depository libraries. These libraries permanently retain copies of all state documents received by the Recorder of Documents Office, the division of the State Library of Louisiana that administers the program, thereby ensuring that Louisiana’s history as recorded by its official publications will be preserved at central locations staffed by professional librarians.

The historical Louisiana public documents collection at LSU is a vital resource for scholars. Virtually all aspects of the state’s social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental history may be studied via these publications, which range from books, journals, newsletters, and reports, to audio-visual recordings and selected ephemeral publications such as posters and brochures. The majority of state documents relate to legislative and judicial proceedings, public policy, taxation, government agency budgets, and elections. Natural resources are another major topic; many Louisiana state documents help trace the history of the state’s oil and gas industry as well as changing agricultural practices. Publications of educational and health agencies may be used to research topics such as the civil rights movement and changing attitudes toward the disabled. State documents complement Special Collections’ broader holdings of books and manuscripts, providing useful primary source material for a limitless number of faculty and student research projects.

New documents are made available for use as quickly as possible after receipt. All materials are searchable in the LSU Libraries’ online catalog by limiting your search to “Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library” and entering the name of the publishing agency or a keyword/subject term. Additionally, several bibliographies are available. State of Louisiana Official Publications (call number: Z1223.5 .L7 L6) is a nine-volume list of Louisiana state documents published between 1935 and 1995. Public Documents (Z1223.5 .L7 A32), a list of shipments to depositories, was published semiannually from 1954 to 2001. Currently, the online catalog of the State Library of Louisiana serves as the complete official bibliography of Louisiana state documents.

State documents do not circulate and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Many current documents, however, are available digitally. If digital access is available, a “URL” logo and blue hyperlink will appear beneath the publication info in the online catalog record. For assistance locating materials, please contact the library.