The state library was originally established as the Territorial Library in 1864. The State Library and the Law and Legislative Reference Bureau were created as state agencies in 1915 (Laws 1915, Chapter 62). The State Librarian also served as the Legislative Reference Librarian. The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records (LAPR) is currently established in the Office of the Secretary of State. Statutory authority is found in A.R.S.§§41-151 et seq.
The mission of the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records is to “serve Arizona’s citizens and government agencies by providing access to public information, fostering historical / cultural collaborative research and information projects, and ensuring that Arizona’s history is documented and preserved” (2014 Secretary of State Annual Report, page 54).
LAPR, a division of the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State, consists of seven branches: Archives, E-rate, Records Management, State Library of Arizona, Library Development, Arizona Talking Book Library and the Arizona Capitol Museum. The focus is providing access, preserving Arizona’s history, serving Arizona government and managing and preserving information for public use.
LAPR provides general information services as well as research and reference services in the subject areas of law, government, public policy, genealogy, and Arizona. The division administers state and federal grants for public libraries, offers consultant services to both public libraries and government agencies, and is working to preserve both paper and electronic resources. The division also offers special library and information services for anyone who is unable to read or use standard printed materials due to visual or physical limitations, manages public record archival retention programs, works with the Arizona Department of Education to best utilize federal funds that help to make Wi-Fi available throughout the state, and creates exhibits to educate the public regarding governmental and Arizona history and the legislative process (Ken Bennett letter to the Governor regarding the five year strategic plan, dated November 5, 2012).
The Howell Code, the legal code for the territory, provided for establishment of the Territorial Library at the capitol in 1864 and named the Secretary of the Territory the Territorial librarian. The library and its holdings moved as the location of the territorial capitol moved: Prescott – 1864 to 1867; Tucson – 1867 to 1877; and Prescott – 1877 to 1889. In 1889, the capitol was located in Phoenix, where it has remained. Since its creation, the library has been either part of the legislative branch or the executive branch of government.
The name of the library has varied since it was created in 1915 as the State Library, under the control of a three-member board of curators. The Legislative Reference Bureau was created by the same law and specifically named Con P. Cronin as the legislative reference librarian. From 1938 to 1973 the library was part of the legislative branch, and was known as the Department of Library and Archives. From 1973 to 1976 the library was part of the executive branch, and was known as the Division of Library, Archives and Public Records within the Arizona Department of Administration (Laws 1972, Chapter 141). From 1976 to 2000 the library was again part of the legislative branch, and named the Department of Library, Archives and Public Records (Laws 1976, Chapter 104). In 2000, it was renamed the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. In 2009, the library was moved to the executive branch when it was established as a division of the Secretary of State’s Office (Laws 2009, Chapter 114).
Creation of library divisions:
The responsibilities of the library have remained essentially the same since statehood, although specific duties have changed periodically.
In 1937 the Legislature combined the State Legislative Bureau, the Library Division and the Arizona History and Archives Division, creating the Department of Library and Archives. The measure designated the History and Archives Division as the central depository for all official books, records and documents, not in current use, of state offices and departments, and of counties and incorporated cities and towns. (Laws 1937, Chapter 32).
Laws 1949, Chapter 51 established a library extension section within the Library Division of the Department of Library and Archives to develop statewide library service.
In 1953, legislative drafting services were transferred from the State Legislative Bureau to the newly created Legislative Council (Laws 1953, Chapter 2).
In 1964 the legislature established the Records Management Division within the Department of Library and Archives to preserve public records (Laws 1964, Chapter 55).
Laws 1969, Chapter 27 established library service for the blind and physically handicapped as part of the library extension service division.
Laws 1981, Chapter 286 authorized the establishment of the State Capitol Museum for public educational purposes.
Recent legislative enactments:
Laws 2017, Chapter 315 repealed the Advisory Board, originally created in 1976. It consisted of legislative and appointed members who provided advice on supervision of the state library.
Laws 2019, Chapter 275 required the State Library to maintain a Trusted Electronic Records Repository to preserve electronic and digitized records of the state archives and state documents program, subject to legislative appropriation. The measure established the Electronic Records Repository Fund, administered by the Director of the State Library, to cover operating costs of the repository. The measure also appropriated $70,000 and one FTE from the state general fund to the Secretary of State in fiscal year 2023-2024.
- A.R.S.§§44-151 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1915, Chapter 62
- Laws 1937, Chapter 32
- Laws 1949, Chapter 51
- Laws 1953, Chapter 2
- Laws 1964, Chapter 55
- Laws 1969, Chapter 27
- Laws 1972, Chapter 141
- Laws 1976, Chapter 104
- Laws 1981, Chapter 286
- Laws 2009, Chapter 114
- Laws 2017, Chapter 315
- Laws 2019, Chapter 275
The Howell Code
2014 Annual Report; Arizona Secretary of State, page 54
100 years of public service, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
Margaret Maxwell. “Libraries on the Last Frontier; Con Cronin and the Fight for Public Library Service.” The Journal of Arizona History. Autumn 1996: 213-230.
Arizona Documents Classification System, DLAPR, 1993.
Master List of State Government Programs
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 6 – Secretary of the Territory
- Record Group 54 – Territorial/State Historian
- Record Group 99 – Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records