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- Happy 125th Electronic Shipping List to the Virginia State Publications Depository Program!

“What’s that?” I bet you are asking. The Electronic Shipping List is the tool the Library of Virginia uses to let other libraries in Virginia know what digital government publications various state agencies have recently issued, and which are permanently stored for access and preservation at the Library of Virginia. The Electronic Shipping Lists allows any library to add cataloging and permanent links to their own library catalogs for remote government information resources deposited and stored in Library of Virginia servers.

State agencies in the executive branch have deposited more than 12,200 government publications meant to inform citizens about the work the government does to benefit the commonwealth. From the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service’s “Dairy Pipeline” to the Dept. of Economic Development’s “Fast Facts,” state publications mirror the varied needs and interests of Virginia’s citizens.

The Virginia Depository Library Program was established in 1981 as part of the Virginia Public Records Act. The Library of Virginia, as well as fifteen other geographically diverse Virginia libraries and the Library of Congress, were designated to receive state publications from the program. State agencies would send the Library 20 paper copies of each publication, and the Library of Virginia would distribute them with a “shipping list” so that each library would know what they should receive. In 2006, the General Assembly revised the Virginia Public Records Act, and … read more »

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- “Soon, the grievance will cease to exist”: Chief Inspector of Vessels Reports

On 17 March 1856, the General Assembly adopted a law entitled, “An Act providing additional protection for the slave property of citizens of this commonwealth.” This legislation established a new inspection system to prevent the escape of criminals and enslaved people aboard commercial shipping vessels. All vessels bound for any northern port beyond the Virginia capes were subject to the inspection.

The Underground Railroad offered avenues to freedom for African Americans, some of which made use of Virginia’s extensive waterways. Free and enslaved African Americans provided an important labor force for the state’s thriving maritime economy. Employment along the busy wharves in Virginia’s harbors also presented enticing opportunities to escape. By the mid-1850s, many runaway slaves from the Hampton Roads area were suspected of escaping aboard ships destined for northern ports. One Norfolk newspaper described this alarming situation as “an intolerable evil.” Urgent pleas for a more effective system to stop these escapes were sent to Richmond. The General Assembly received strongly worded petitions from the citizens of Norfolk, Elizabeth City County, and Princess Anne County. These Tidewater localities wanted “additional legislation…which should clothe the Pilots of our state with power to search vessels, arrest fugitives, and should require every vessel bound to a Non-Slaveholding Port, to take a Pilot…to give us the necessary protection.” Soon, Delegate Francis Mallory of Norfolk introduced new legislation aimed … read more »

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