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Government Information

Philadelphia Government

Local Government (city councils, school boards, etc.)

How to research local governments

Finding information and documents at the local level can be challenging because each municipality organizes its information differently. Consider reaching out to a research librarian at your institution for advice tailored to your needs.

Here are some general tips for local-level research:

  • Start by exploring the municipality's official website.  Note the exact names of the departments and offices of interest to you and the names of their head administrators. These can be useful search terms within the official site and beyond, including news coverage and social media.
  • Check if your municipality uses any of these common public information management systems There are a handful of platforms that are popular among municipal governments. If your municipality uses one or more of these platforms, you may be able to get access to legislative materials, meeting minutes, and other documents.

    For local legislative and other materials, try doing a quick search for your municipality's name plus one of the following:
  • Public meeting videos are another possible source.
    • Try Youtube, Vimeo, or a Google search limited to video
    • Some cities (e.g. NYC) maintain a separate site for videos from public meetings.
    • LocalView - largest dataset of public meetings by city
  • Freedom of Information laws and Right-to-Know policies  Specific policies vary by state and municipality, but you may be able to request access to documents from local officials.


County Governments