Monday, July 16, 2018

Massachusetts City and Town reports: Paper and Electronic

The State Library holds a large collection of annual reports of Massachusetts towns and cities dating back to the nineteenth century, largely because of Massachusetts General Law chapter 40, section 50, which mandates that towns have to send us their annual town reports.  These reports provide much useful information about the Commonwealth’s many towns.

The cities and towns put a variety of information into the reports, and they are not uniform with their coverage.  Some cities or towns include vital statistics, including birth, marriage and death statistics.  Other town reports include the town budget, departmental reports of various offices in the town such as the town clerk, and information from the most recent town meeting.

For instance, the town report for Hadley 2017, which we have so far only in paper, has their town seal on the title page, a table of contents and some statistics about the town including the year settled (1659), year incorporated (1661), current population (5198) and registered voters (4035).  The town has some vital statistics which include the number of births, deaths, and marriages in the last five years.  They have various town agency reports.  This includes a report from the Public Health Nurse with a chart of reported diseases with Influenza and Lyme topping the list; and a report from Animal Control with the number of barking dog complaints, and other incidents.

In the last few years we have also collected some of the annual reports electronically.  We make these reports available in our Digital Repository called DSpace.  (See Hadley’s 2016 annual report here.) One can access the electronic reports from any computer.  We have a list of cities and town annual reports that we have currently in paper and electronically.

Naomi Allen
Reference Librarian