Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So Many Digital Documents

The State Library is a repository for state documents and, as such, it receives many documents from state agencies. In the last decade, the library has gotten many documents, only published in digital form, which are added to its digital repository.  These documents can be found in the library’s online catalog and are usually available on the agency’s web page as well. 

Highlighted here are documents that represent a variety of subject areas and are from agencies that produce a fair amount of consumer related documents such as health care, do not call registry, and lemon laws. For years library patrons have been interested in obtaining information about the lemon laws which are laws about used cars. These documents will tell the definition of a car that is a lemon, and give someone the information for repair, refund, or replacement of a vehicle. 

Some digital documents are highlighted below:

These electronic documents are easily accessible online through the State Library’s catalog at To see the documents click on "view online."  

Naomi Allen
Reference Librarian


Monday, November 19, 2012

The United States Government Manual

The United States Government Manual is the official handbook of the Federal Government.  It provides comprehensive and authoritative information about the legislative, judicial and executive branches of our government.  Quasi-official agencies and international organizations with U.S. membership and Federal boards, commissions and committees are also included in this publication.  The major focus is on programs and activities.

In the section for the legislative branch, for example, information is available for:  Congress, the Architect of the Capitol, United States Botanical Garden, Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Government Printing Office (GPO), Library of Congress and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

There are three (3) appendices to the manual:  commonly used abbreviations and acronyms; terminated and transferred agencies and agencies appearing in the Code of Federal Regulations. An example of acronyms would be: Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association); Farmer Mac (Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation); Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Corporation); and Ginnie Mae (Government National Mortgage Association).

This publication is available online from the 1995-96 edition through the 2011 edition at:  The State Library holds paper copies which are available in room 341 of the State House, Mondays through Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brown Bag on Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy

Join us for a Brown Bag Lunch
on Thursday, November 15th, 2012
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 341, State House
12 until 1:30 PM

Bring your lunch and join us to hear Dr. Marcia Drew Hohn, Director of The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute, paint a compelling picture of these entrepreneurs as job creators and engines for economic and social growth in Massachusetts. She will speak based on a decade of research and eight reports by the Institute, which document immigrants’ roles in neighborhood revitalization, biotechnology, hospitality businesses as well as their work in the mid to high growth sectors of transportation, food and manufacturing and building services.

Dr. Hohn will interweave statistics and stories from the reports to paint a vivid picture of the contributions of these entrepreneurs to the economic vitality of the Commonwealth.  She will introduce you to some of the faces behind the stories including:
  • Malee Thai, Pailin City, Lowell
  • Julia Silverio, Silverio Insurance, Lawrence
  • Larry Dossantos, 912 Auto, Dorchester
  • Amar Sawheny, Ocular Therapeutix, Woburn and
  • Klara Sotonova, Klara’s Gourmet Cookies, the Berkshires.
Print copies of the reports will be available to attendees.

To register, please go to
You may also register by calling the Reference Department at 617-727-2590 or by emailing to

December’s Brown Bag will be the following:
  • Tuesday, December 11th
    Dr. Beryl Rosenthal,  Executive Director, The Waterworks Museum, The History of Water in Massachusetts

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Both Sides of an Argument: Significant Debates in Massachusetts History

Last week saw the third and final presidential debate before the 2012 November elections.  As the debates are still lingering fresh in our collective mind, now is a great time to dip back into history and take a look at some notable hot-button issues and persuasive arguments delivered by Massachusetts legislators and other well-known figures.

One significant debate, which examined the nature of the Union, largely took place between legislators Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, a Federalist, and Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina, a Republican and advocate for state sovereignty.  The argument, which came to a head in January of 1830 while on the topic of protectionist tariffs and public land, stemmed from the 1787 Constitutional Convention’s debate on the nature and purpose of the federal government.  As a solution to the 1787 question, a new Constitutional ratification positioned the government as “central to the structure of American politics.”  However, the debate of 1830 brought accusations of a federal government and Union in ruins, ultimately revealing fiery sectional discord that was seething below the surface of the political climate.  The unplanned debate between Webster and Hayne lasted from January 19th to the 27th, and Webster’s second speech in reply to Hayne is considered one of the most eloquent to ever have been delivered in Congress.  During and after the Civil War, many viewed this debate as having foreshadowed the subsequent violence that erupted between the north and south.

Another important debate was held on March 19th, 1919 in Boston’s Symphony Hall between U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts and Harvard President Abbott Lawrence Lowell, with an introductory address by then-Governor Calvin Coolidge.  The debate focused on the issue of a League of Nations as proposed in the Covenant of Paris, which both men agreed was in need of ratification, and whether the U.S. should or should not participate in such an organization.  Lodge, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, was not supportive of U.S. involvement in the proposed League and felt that it would only serve to engender friction between nations; instead, he called for a league that would seek general disarmament and aim to “secure the future peace of the world”.  Lowell argued that nations should work together and form a greater understanding of one another, which would therefore decrease friction.  It was believed that both sides were in close enough agreement that, once ratifications were made to the covenant, the U.S. would eventually join the League.  However, the United States did not participate in an international organization until the formation of the United Nations at the conclusion of WWII in 1945.

Kaitlin Connolly
Reference Department