Good Legislation mural in Main Reading Room Lobby by Elihu Vedder

Welcome message from the Law Librarian of Congress

Welcome to the Law Library of the Library of Congress. The rule of law is a pillar of our society and its influence can be found in almost all disciplines. Law also plays an important part in helping to address many of the major challenges of our times.

The Founding Fathers of the United States realized that a library was key to their young country’s viability. Many of the first books held in the Library of Congress collections were law books. They were used to help form the structure of the early America and the U.S. Congress continues to use its Library for research in these ways to this day.

In 1832, The Law Library of Congress was officially established to provide the United States Congress and Supreme Court with access to current and accurate legal research materials. Over time, our mission was expanded to include other branches of the U.S. Government, the public and the global legal community. This evolving mission is supported by a collection of more than 2.65 million volumes and brings together the expertise of approximately 100 lawyers, librarians, other professionals and support staff who provide legal reference, research and analysis using the Law Library’s collection, and also draw upon the collections and expertise of our colleagues throughout the Library of Congress.

The Law Library has grown over the years to become the world’s largest, with a collection that spans the ages and covers virtually every jurisdiction in the world. As the leading research center for foreign, comparative and international law, the Library also provides valuable reference assistance to the scholarly community and to law practitioners across the nation and the globe. While our name says “of Congress,” we are an intellectual asset that belongs to everyone!

The Law Library continues to be guided by the belief that universal access to and the understanding of law serves an important role in promoting peace and democracy. We are also committed to the fundamental principle that legal information must be accurate, authentic and authoritative.

Through its dedication to quality and ability to adapt to rapidly changing technology, the Law Library plays a key role today and promises to leave a valuable legacy for the future.

I invite you to learn more about the Law Library and remain connected to us by exploring our website, where you will find an increasing number of digital resources available without restrictions on their use. A variety of reports, research guides, e-exhibits, and newsletters are available on topics of legal significance for national and international audiences.

Whether you visit the Law Library of Congress in person or virtually, we hope you will make use of its rich and unique resources and return often. Please let us know of ways in which we could improve or expand upon our services.

Last Updated: 02/28/2014