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Local Law Libraries

Introduction

About This Guide

Local libraries often have the best resources for their communities.   Local libraries typically focus on providing access to the laws in their geographic area and legal subjects that are particularly important to the local community.  While large national law libraries have vast, rich collections, the focus of those collections are not the best fit for every library user.  This guide is designed as a resource to connect users to these valuable local resources.

What is a law library?

Law Libraries are special libraries whose mission and collections focus on serving the needs of people engaged in legal research. Law libraries are used by law students, lawyers, lobbyists, judges, legislators, law clerks, and more. Members of the general public, including self-represented or pro se litigants, also find law libraries a helpful resource when conducting legal research. One might expect to find a range of legal materials in law libraries including but not limited to:

  • Current and Superseded Statutes
  • Proposed and Adopted Regulations
  • Case Opinions
  • Practitioner Handbooks and Guides
  • Books About the Law
  • Legislative History Materials
  • Legal Encyclopedias
  • Continuing Legal Educational Materials

A law library may contain traditional print materials like books and journals, but increasingly law libraries also contain digital resources to assist users with their research.

There are several types of law libraries that are addressed in this guide including Academic Law Libraries, Court Libraries, State Libraries, Membership Libraries, and Legislative Libraries.  To learn more about the different types of libraries visit:

How can law librarians help?

Every library is different, so it is important to learn what services librarians can provide.  Many law library websites will provide this  information.  Typically, law librarians can help library users to:

  • Navigate law library collections
  • Find known items, with a citation
  • Find relevant forms
  • Develop a research strategy

Law librarians typically cannot interpret the law for library users, or provide legal advice.  To learn more about why librarians do not provide legal advice see the Model Rules of Professional Conduct 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of Law.

Contacting a Lawyer

For users who need more help than a law library can provide, the following resources may be useful in finding a lawyer.  Most of these services are provided by State Bar Associations, which are a good place to start for those looking to connect with a legal professional locally. 

Federal Libraries

State Libraries

Select A State

Alabama

General Information

State Libraries

County Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Alaska

General Information

State Libraries

State Court Libraries

The Alaska State Court Law Library organizes and facilitates access to legal research resources and court system information. The main library is in Anchorage, but library services are available through sixteen branch libraries. The law libraries in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau are staffed. All other branches are unstaffed or limited to computer access only.  Learn more about the Alaska public law libraries on the Alaska Courts Website.

Staffed Court Libraries

Unstaffed Court Libraries

Alaska has a number of unstaffed local law libraries spread throughout the state. Not all of the county law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations, hours, and contact information are available through the following resource:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Arizona

General Information

State Library

County Law Libraries

Arizona has a number of county law libraries - over 15. Not all of the county law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations and contact information are available through the following resource:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Arkansas

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

California

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

California has a vast network of law libraries - over 80. The services and legal collections in each county law library differ to suit community needs, however, all libraries within the network share the same goal of "making the law accessible to the public."  Not all of the local law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations, hours, and contact information are available through:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Colorado

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Connecticut

General Information

State Libraries

County Law Libraries

Connecticut has county court law libraries located in Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, Middlestown, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Putnam, Rockville, Stamford, Torrington, and Waterbury.  Not all of the county law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations, hours, and contact information are available through the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch website.

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Delaware

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

District of Columbia

General Information

Court Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Georgia

General Information

State Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Hawaii

General Information

State Law Library

Circuit Court Law Libraries

Circuit Court libraries are located in Wailuku, Kilauea, Kamakeha, and Lihue.  Some libraries may not have individual websites but the location, hours, and contact information is available through the following resource: 

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Idaho

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Illinois

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Indiana

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Iowa

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Kansas

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Kentucky

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Louisiana

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Maine

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Other Law Libraries

Maryland

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

Maryland has over 20 law libraries. Not all of the local law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations, hours, and contact information are available through:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Other Libraries

Massachusetts

General Information

State Library

Trial Court Libraries

There are 15 Trial Court Law Libraries located across Massachusetts to serve the courts, attorneys and the public. Not all of the local law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations, hours, and contact information are available through the following resource:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Other Law Libraries

Michigan

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Minnesota

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

Minnesota has a vast network of law libraries - over 80. Not all of the local law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations and contact information are available through:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Mississippi

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Missouri

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Montana

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Nebraska

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Nevada

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

New Hampshire

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

New Jersey

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

New Mexico

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

New York

General Information

State Law Library

Appellate Court Library

Trial Court & County Libraries

The trial courts in New York State are called "Supreme Courts," so despite the names these are actually lower court libraries. New York has a vast network of law libraries - over 60.  Not all of the county law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations and contact information are available through the following resource:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Bar Association Library

North Carolina

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

North Dakota

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Wyoming

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Wisconsin

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

Wisconsin offers a County Legal Resources Guide to help users find legal resources by county. 

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

West Virginia

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Washington

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

Washington has a vast network of law libraries - nearly 40. Not all of the local law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations and contact information are available through:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Virginia

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

Virginia has many law libraries - over 20.  Not all of the county law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations and contact information are available through the following resource:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Vermont

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Utah

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Tennessee

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

South Dakota

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

South Carolina

General Information

State Law Library

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Rhode Island

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Oregon

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

Oregon has a vast network of law libraries - over 30.  Not all of the county law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations, hours, and contact information are available through the following resource:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Oklahoma

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Ohio

General Information

State Law Library

County Law Libraries

Ohio has a vast network of law libraries - over 80. Not all of the county law libraries have their own web pages, however, locations and contact information are available through the following resource:

University Libraries

Some University Libraries are open to the public.  Please check with the individual institutions prior to visiting to learn more about their policies.

Territorial Libraries

Indigenous Peoples' Libraries

More Information

Online Research

While local libraries are often the best resource, there are options for researchers interested in conducting research without visiting a law library in person.  For more information on conducting legal research for free online see:

CC License

Creative Commons License

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included and it is shared in the same manner.