Secretary of State Robin Carnahan on Thursday released the 2011–2012 edition of the Official Manual of the State of Missouri (the Blue Book). For the first time, this edition of the Blue Book will only be available online in an electronic format, as directed by the Missouri Legislature, which didn’t found allocate funds for a hardback edition.

The electronic Blue Book provides Missourians with the same valuable information about our local, state and federal governments they have come to expect, and it offers an easy to use, printer-friendly format that can be downloaded onto any computer.

The Blue Book, which is published by the secretary of state every two years, is the definitive source of information about Missouri state government. It includes an overview of state government services and contact information for government officials and departments.    

“The Blue Book is a great tool to make government more open and accessible to people,” Carnahan said. “I’m pleased to be able to provide this important resource to all Missourians who wish to interact with their government.” 

Carnahan also released an introductory video for the new digital edition, available at http://vimeo.com/35292457.

The 68th edition includes the winning submissions from the Great Missouri Treasure Hunt, a contest in which Missourians were encouraged to explore records held by public institutions and submit stories, along with scans of documents, photos or videos, to share their findings for a chance to earn prizes. Winners were selected from the following categories: Missouri History, Family History, Civil War History and Best Photograph.

Additionally, the Missouri State Archives has placed more than 40 historic Blue Books online through the Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative. The online collection includes every Missouri Official Manual from 1878 to 2000.

The idea for the manual began in 1878, when Secretary of State Michael McGrath published an informational pamphlet, called the “State Almanac and Official Directory of Missouri,” which included election figures and lists of state and county officers. In 1891, Secretary of State Alexander L. Lesueur secured legislation to mandate the publication of an “Official Manual” to depict the progress and development of the various branches of state government. 

To view the Blue Book, visit http://www.sos.mo.gov/bluebook/default.aspx.

No printed copies are available. In 2011, a change to the state law required the Official Manual be published online only. If you want Missouri government information in printed form, check out the 2011-2012 Missouri Roster.

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