Thursday, February 16, 2012

Laws of the United States

As a federal depository, the State Library has a collection of the Laws of the United States (Statutes at Large) starting with the organization of the Government in 1789. The U.S. Statutes at Large is the permanent collection of laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress. The Statutes are also known as session laws, analogous to Massachusetts’ Acts and Resolves.

Among the laws one can find in this collection is the federal health care law passed in 2010, known officially as Public Law 111-148, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”. Much of this law was modeled after Massachusetts’ own universal health care law, Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006.

The Library’s collections of both public and private laws (also known as slip laws) are available digitally from 1951-2007 (vols. 65-115). The digitized collection starts with the 82nd Congress (1951) and continues through the 110th Congress (2007). Prior to 1951 the collection is available in hard copy.

The collection is available for use in room 341 of the State House, the main reading room of the State Library. To access Government and Congressional publications visit the website of the Government Printing Office (GPO) at: