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Texas Water Resources Research Guide

Cover image for the Water Resources Research guide Looking for a starting point to research Texas water issues?  Check out the Legislative Reference Library's new Water Resources Research Guide
This comprehensive bibliography of resources related to water includes lists of water-related agencies, organizations, databases, and research aids as well as citations to articles and reports published between 2008 and 2014.
The Guide focuses on water resources development, management, and use; water rights and allocation; and water planning and research.

New Exhibit: Inspired By Texas

Inspired by Texas logo
A new library exhibit invites visitors to get "Inspired by Texas." The exhibit area will feature revolving themes from Texas culture, literature, and history. This month we are highlighting legislators who also are artists.
Sen. Craig Estes Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls, 2001-present) has loaned the library one of his paintings for display. The Senator studied art in college and has long been recognized for his artistic accomplishments. His work is primarily abstract, and he has a great eye for design and color.
The exhibit also showcases drawings by Representative Neil Caldwell (D-Alvin, 1960-1977). Caldwell's images, both whimsical and astute, are as timely in Texas politics today as they were when he sketched them. He had a masterful way of capturing the essence of elected officials and staff through portraiture. A compilation of his art was published in 1969.
We invite you to come into the library to enjoy this art or check out our Pinterest Boards, New Acquisitions and Young Texans Collection, to see books highlighted in the exhibit.

Library Resources Update, February 2014

This monthly post highlights new resources recently added to the library's website.
The following House and Senate Journals have been added to our online collection:
  • 32nd Regular Session (1911) - House journal
  • 48th Regular Session (1943) - House journal
  • 64th Regular Session (1975) - House and Senate journals
  • 66th Regular Session (1979) - Senate journal
  • 67th Regular and Called Sessions (1981-82) - Senate journal
  • 69th Regular and Called Sessions (1985-86) - House journal
  • 70th Regular and Called Sessions  (1987) - House and Senate journals
  • 72nd Regular and Called Sessions (1991-92) - House and Senate journals
We recently added House interim charges for the 83rd Legislature to our Legislative Reports database.  The list of charges also includes Senate charges that have been issued so far for the 83rd.
Recent additions to this online database of gubernatorial materials include governor speeches and messages from the 39th-46th Legislatures (1925-39), going back to Governor Miriam Ferguson.
A new webpage that lists current Texas legislators who have accounts on Twitter and provides a single feed where you can view Texas legislators' posts to Twitter.
New online collection of inaugural invitations, programs, and brochures.
Recent additions from the 65th Legislature (1977) include minutes from the Joint Advisory Committee on Educational Services to the Deaf and Senate Committee to Study Texas Beaches

Young Texans Collection

Photo of Young Texans exhibitYoung readers visiting the library can learn about Texas through our Young Texans Collection. The collection includes a variety of children’s books for every age level, from picture books to chapter books. Visitors can learn all about Texas, (“L is for Lone Star”), discover events in Texas history (“Voices of the Alamo”), and read about Texas politicians and historical figures (Martín de León, Barbara Jordan, and Sam Houston, among many others).

The collection is accessible any time the library is open, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also view the collection on Pinterest, where we’ve included notes about reading levels and brief summaries of the books.

Legislative Resources and Staff Honored with NCSL Awards

The Texas Legislative Reference Library and the Texas Senate Research Center have been recognized with Notable Document Awards by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Legislative Research Librarians staff section. More than forty documents from seventeen states were submitted for the award, with thirteen documents from eleven states receiving the honor. Texas was one of only two states to win two awards. The awards were announced at the 38th NCSL Legislative Summit in Atlanta, Georgia in August.

The Texas Legislative Reference Library's Pinterest page, recipient of the Notable Online Resource award, uses the unique format of boards and pins to highlight books, photographs, art and other items that bring the Texas Legislature and its history into view. From historical 'tidbits' about the Texas Legislature to a full exhibit of state symbols, the page highlights a range of helpful information.

The Senate Research Center's Budget 101: A Guide to the Budget Process in Texas received a Notable Document on Fiscal Policy award. A useful primer on the biennial budget process in Texas, the guide provides a step-by-step description of what happens to the budget during the legislative session, and discusses the different agencies and offices involved in the process. In addition, the publication contains information on the current two-year budget, including when it was passed, total funding, and how funds were distributed by function.

A full list of Notable Document Award Winners for 2013 is available here.
In other awards news, Mary Camp, Director of the Library, was the recipient of the Legislative Staff Achievement award for 2013. This award recognizes excellence in supporting the work of a state legislature and strengthening the legislative institution. Candidates are evaluated on a number of criteria, including their effectiveness at improving the legislative process, as well as their contributions to the work of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Congratulations, Mary!

New: State Symbols on Pinterest

In 1901, Texas legislators designated the Bluebonnet (Lupinus Subcarnosus) the Official State Flower. Shortly after that, in 1919, they named the Pecan Tree the State Tree of Texas. Since then, more than 60 state symbols have been designated, ranging from Official State Footwear (cowboy boot) to Official State Cooking Implement (cast iron Dutch oven).
See the entire collection of state symbols on our new Pinterest page, "State Symbols of Texas." For each symbol we included an image and linked to the resolution or bill that designated it.
Screenshot of State Symbols Pinterest board

LRL Now on Pinterest

It's official, the Legislative Reference Library is now on Pinterest! You can view our page at
Pinterest is a new social media site that allows you to collect and share interesting things you find on the web. Users set up "boards" on a theme of their choice and then "pin" web-based items they find on that topic. Browsing other users' Pinterest boards is a fun and visual way to discover new information.
The library's three initial pinboards highlight art in the library, books by or about Texas legislators, and links for the library's most popular online resources. We'll be pinning new items on an ongoing basis, so check back often!

Texas LRL on Pinterest

Now online! Congressional journals of the Republic of Texas, 1836-1845

Over the last year, the library has worked hard to scan House and Senate journals to make them available on our website. Part of this project included scanning congressional journals from the Republic of Texas. These journals date to the period between 1836 and 1845, just before Texas became a state. At that time, the Republic of Texas had formed as a separate nation after gaining independence from Mexico.

Reading through the journals of the First Congress gives you a sense of how much things have changed:

  • The Congress that year consisted of 14 senators and 29 representatives, as opposed to the 150 representatives and 31 senators that make up today's state legislative body.  
  • Since no capital had yet been established, the First Congress met in Columbia, TX (today's West Columbia in Brazoria County).
  •  In his State of the State address, ad interim President David C. Burnet told the members of Congress, "To you is committed the beginning of legislation, and as you shall lay the foundation, so will be reared the superstructure."  He stressed the importance of adopting a plan for "permanent and certain revenue," and for building up the military organization, whose "strength has been fluctuating on account of the frequent accession and discharges of volunteers under short enlistment."   

The journals include familiar names like Sam Houston, twice President of the Republic of Texas and later Governor of the State of Texas (1859-1861), and J. Pinckney Henderson, Attorney General and Secretary of State in the early years of the Republic, and later the State of Texas' first Governor (1846-47).

Journals for all nine congresses of the Republic of Texas are available online at:

The library wishes to thank the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History (University of Texas at Austin), the Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for generously lending us individual congressional journals not present in our own collection.

LRL Celebrates National Library Week - April 8-14, 2012

National Library Week LogoIn celebration of National Library Week, we invite you to a game of LRL Trivial Pursuit! Answers will be revealed later this week.
  1. TRUE or FALSE: It is illegal to pick bluebonnets in Texas.
  2. What year was the first standardized test administered in Texas public schools and what was it called?
  3. Which former House member from Washington County cast his first presidential vote for Grover Cleveland, was invited to attend the inaugural ball for Governor James S. Hogg, and was a relative of one of the writers of the Texas State Flower Song, "Bluebonnets"?
  4. There are two busts in the artwork collection on display in the LRL. One is Sam Houston, who is the other?  [Hint: these two may require a field trip to Capitol Room 2N.3!]
  5. When was the last time a Governor's veto was overridden by the Legislature?
Watch for more activities during the week!

LRL Hosts Visitors from the Canadian Library of Parliament

 Last week, the Legislative Reference Library was pleased to host a group of interns participating in this year's internship program with the Library of Parliament of Canada.
The Texas visit focused on legislative research services, and included discussions of how the Texas Legislature works, the role of the library, the uses of social media, and how our resources and research assist members, committees, and agencies of the Texas legislative community.
Activities included meeting with the House and Senate Parliamentarians and with staff from the Texas Legislative Council, the State Preservation Board, the House Research Organization, the Senate Research Center, the Sunset Advisory Board, and the Legislative Budget Board.  
Participants also enjoyed a tour of the Capitol and dinner at the Broken Spoke.
We wish to thank all of the Texas legislative offices who participated in this event with our Canadian guests.

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