Good Legislation mural in Main Reading Room Lobby by Elihu Vedder

With approximately 2.9 million volumes, the Law Library’s collection of primary and secondary sources constitutes the largest legal collection in the world. The collection is also the most comprehensive, covering all of the approximately 260 jurisdictions as well as many former nations and colonies.

Additionally, the collection includes 95,300 reels of microform and 2.9 million pieces of microfiche. On average, the collection grows annually by 40,000 volumes, 1,800 reels of microfilm, 92,000 pieces of microfiche, 40,000 serial pieces and 50,000 official gazettes.


Comprehensive geographically, the collection also spans all periods of law, from the most ancient and primitive to the most contemporary and sophisticated. All systems of law – common, civil, customary, religious and socialist – are represented, as are all topics within the law.

The Law Library is a repository for the complete record of American Law.  Additions are constantly being made to the collection of:

  • U.S. Congress bills, resolutions, hearings and other documents
  • U.S. federal and state government documents of a legal nature
  • Legal newspapers of major U.S. cities
  • Records and briefs of the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal

The foreign law collection covers all major national, state and equivalent jurisdictions. Selected highlights of material in English are available. The Law Library attempts to acquire and retain for the permanent collections the following types of important legal publications:

  • Official gazettes
  • Constitutions
  • Codes
  • Session laws
  • Administrative rules and regulations
  • Commentaries and indexes to laws, rules and regulations
  • Judicial court decisions and reports
  • Administrative court decisions and reports
  • Digests and indexes of decisions and reports
  • Legal bibliographies
  • Directories of the legal profession
  • Legal dictionaries and encyclopedias

On a selective or representative basis, the Law Library also collects:

  • legal periodicals and their indexes
  • treatises
  • law school theses and dissertations
  • legislative histories
  • publications of bar associations

For additional information, try these resources:

Last Updated: 12/30/2020