We're happy you're here. As a law student, you will be spending a good deal of your time reading, studying and researching. Whether you're online or on campus, you'll find an excellent collection of materials to work with at the Harvard Law School Library, and friendly and knowledgeable library staff ready to help. Read on to learn more about us.
The law library, replete with history and art, is located in Langdell Hall. Our extensive collections make us the largest academic law library in the world.
Enter the grand Reading Room, and immerse yourself in a space where Supreme Court justices, U.S. presidents, and countless legal scholars from around the world have studied. Our newly renovated second floor lounges and third floor research room feature comfortable places to read and relax, plus study rooms equipped with tech connections for research consultations or group collaboration. And you'll find the Historical & Special Collections department and Library Innovation Lab housed within, on the fourth and first floors respectively.
Until we can give you an in-person tour, we hope you enjoy this virtual tour, presented by Research Librarian Deanna Barmakian, and Manager of Historical & Special Collections Karen Beck.
Check out the spooky side of the Harvard Law Library with this virtual edition of our annual Halloween Tour, presented by Research Librarian AJ Blechner, and HSC Manager Karen Beck.
Below is a sampling of our departments - especially those you're likely to work with most frequently. To learn more about all of the law library's 70+ staff members, visit our online staff directory (https://hls.harvard.edu/library/about-the-library/staff-directory/).
The librarians in the Reference and Research Services department, managed by Mindy Kent, and Faculty Research and Scholarly Support Services department, managed by Debbie Ginsberg, provide research and reference assistance to the HLS and Harvard community.
The Reference and Research Services librarians work primarily with students, by offering individual research consultations and group research classes, supporting clinical programs and journals and also teaching in the first year Legal Research and Writing program. The Faculty Services librarians work primarily with faculty members, supporting their research, teaching and scholarship. All librarians have library degrees, and most also have law degrees.
On demand reference assistance (currently offered via Zoom) is available during business hours.
Research librarians work closely with librarians in the Collection Development department to ensure maintenance of a robust collection of U.S., foreign and international law materials, both in print and online. Specialists in Foreign, Comparative and International Law, and well as East Asian and Islamic Law, lend language and subject expertise. Learn more about our collection development here: https://hls.harvard.edu/library/about-the-library/harvard-law-school-library-collections/.
The law library's Access Services / Circulation Department, managed by Brian Sutton, has all the information you need about the law library's policies, including checking out and returning library materials.
Visit https://hls.harvard.edu/library/forms-and-services/ to learn more.
They also manage the library's on-site collection and take great care of the books on the shelves.
When you're on campus, stop by the Circulation Desk to borrow items from computer chargers to board games to popular movies, and even a tool kit. You might even spot a local area cat, Remy, stopping by for a visit.
Our colleagues in Historical & Special Collections (https://hls.harvard.edu/library/historical-special-collections/), led by Karen Beck, acquire, catalog, preserve, and make available materials that document the history of the law. HSC is open to anyone who needs to use their materials.
The Library Innovation Lab, headed by Adam Ziegler, is regularly at work on various creative projects - from the Caselaw Access Project (CAP) aimed at making all U.S. case law freely available online; to the Perma.cc tool combating link rot for citations; and the H20 Platform for creating, sharing and remixing open course materials. Learn more at https://lil.law.harvard.edu/.
In addition to three major legal research databases -- Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law -- HLS students have access to a wealth of research databases both at the law school and from the greater university. We're happy to help you navigate them.
Whether you're conducting U.S., foreign or international legal research; your work spans various academic disciplines, or you're doing some statistical analysis, we have you covered.
Learn more at https://hls.harvard.edu/library/research/find-a-database/.
Harvard offers access to hundreds of current and historical newspapers from across the United States and around the world.
Plus, HLS students can sign up for individual free subscriptions to:
Learn more about Newspapers for the HLS Community at https://guides.library.harvard.edu/law/newspapers.
Our online catalog, HOLLIS (http://hollis.harvard.edu), shows you materials across all of Harvard's libraries and should be your first stop for research. Thousands upon thousands of items are in there - from books to databases to newspapers to media.
In the off chance that we don't have what you need, Borrow Direct and ILL services are available from other libraries.