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 Law Library’s collection of rare books consists of approximately 25,000 volumes of books and bound manuscripts, many issued prior to 1801.
The Law Library of Congress has been collecting foreign official gazettes since the mid-nineteenth century and maintains one of the largest collections of these sources in the world. Official gazettes are primary sources of law published by national governments to disseminate new legislation, regulations, and decisions of governmental bodies. These publications may also contain other information including the text of international agreements, court decisions, official announcements, and government notices. For countries with civil law systems, the official gazette often serves as the sole source of the authoritative texts of laws until updated codes are published. In most countries, a law enters into force on the date of publication in the official gazette.
The Law Library Reading Room contains a variety of legal and legislative materials from around the globe in microfiche, microfilm and ultrafiche.
The Law Library continues to digitize legal and legislative materials to help users gain access to important historical documents. Our collections include:
- Century of Lawmaking
Full-text access to the laws, bills and resolutions, treaties, debates and journals of the first 43 Congresses.
- Congressional Hearings
Full-text access to historical Congressional committee hearings on a variety of topics.
- Digitized Collections
Our digitized collection includes material on Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, piracy trials, American Indian Legal Materials, Statutes at Large, United States Treaties, and others.
- Legal Blawgs
Access the web archive of more than 100 legal blawgs.
- Miranda v. Arizona: The Rights to Justice
A digitized selection of the most salient documents and other resources related to the landmark Supreme Court case of June 13, 1966.
- World War I: Declarations of War from Around the Globe
From the death of the Archduke to the Armistice on November 11, 1918, over 20 countries issued various forms of declarations of war that can be found in the official government publications of the time. This collection highlights those declarations that are available at the Law Library of Congress.
Last Updated: 02/01/2018