Since 1976, librarians in the Reference Center have assisted Montana's legislators and legislative staff by answering reference and research questions, obtaining and circulating materials such as research reports and state and federal legislation, and providing interlibrary loan services. Resources in the Reference Center focus on issues of current concern to the Montana Legislature.
In addition to serving the Legislative Branch, the Reference Center helps other state agencies and the general public with questions about Montana's legislative process. The public is welcome to use the collection for legislative research. Non-legislative researchers can contact the State Law Library (406-444-3660) for legal research assistance. Historical material, such as information about former legislators, is housed at the Montana Historical Society Library (406-444-2681).
Over 3,000 titles cover the broad range of issues studied by the Legislature. They include publications from other state legislatures, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and the Council of State Governments (CSG). Legislative interim committee publications are also available.
The Center's collection includes the Montana Code Annotated (1895-), House and Senate Journals (1879-), Session Laws (1889-), papers of the 1972 Constitutional Convention; Montana legislative rule books (1925-), andLawmakers of Montana "Copper Books" (1957-).
We subscribe to 100 periodicals to provide up-to-date information on economics, criminal justice, economic development, education finance, environmental policy, federal-state relations, health care, human services, state and local government, tax policy, and utilities.
Memos written by Legislative Services Division (LSD) staff and selected memos from the Legislative Environmental Policy Office (LEPO) and Legislative Fiscal Division (LFD) comprise an archive of past research. Memos from 2000 forward are stored electronically on the Legislative Branch's Publications web page.
Online databases include our book catalog and periodical, newspaper, and memorandum indexes. We have access to MONTLAW, WESTLAW, and LEXIS for searching legal information, and also subscribe to the Montana Library Network (with access to OCLC's WorldCat) and other commercial databases to facilitate locating information held elsewhere.
The Legislative Reference Center is one of several state agency libraries. The Montana State Library maintains a list of other agency libraries.