Saturday, October 13, 2007

Illinois Blue Book, 2005-2006: It's Time Has Passed

Today, my library received the Illinois Blue Book, 2005-2006. If you have noticed that it is already October 2007, you see the problem. This is an out of date directory when you get it. It always has been.

Perhaps this book is really intended as a historical reference item or collectors item and not as a directory at all. It is printed on nice glossy paper and the binding is stitched. The cover is dark blue with gold emblem, lettering, and stripes. Though it is no larger than many novels, it weighs twice as much (estimate). There must be half a pound of lead in the ink.

So, why is it full of possibly out of date addresses and phone numbers? It also tells what governmental departments have to spend in 2006. If you want to know Illinois legislative committee assignments of two years ago, this is your source.

There are some helpful sections in the back of the volume. All the legislators since 1819 are named, as are all the governors and other elected officials. There is also basic information on the counties, a copy of the Illinois constitution, and pictures of all the statues around the capitol.

It is interesting to learn from the chronology that Disco Demolition Night at Comisky Park in Chicago, July 12, 1979, is one of the highlights of the state's history.

Why do we still get this book? The information is all available on the Illinois Secretary of State's website. (It would be more useful and searchable if it were in HTML instead on PDF format.) State officials of Illinois are always pleading that revenue is short, denying funding to useful projects. The state library has been strapped for funds for years, as have all the regional library systems. I suggest that all the money spent to produce and distribute this heavy, rarely used book could be better spent.

1 comment:

jeda21 said...

It would be even better if all the info would be on one page instead of multiples. I was trying to print it out and have it as a reference piece -- it's just a lovely project that's driving me up the wall now. I remember in the 90s calling up the Secretary of State office and asking for a print copy and it was near impossible (I'm a mere civilian).