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Library Week

Law Libraries


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.

The Law Library of Congress was officially established in 1832 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 2.9 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.

Law Library of Congress

The Library of the Supreme Court of Illinois dates back to 1842. Since 1908, the library has been located in the Supreme Court Building in Springfield. The library primarily serves the Judicial branch of the State of Illinois, however the library is also made available to state, federal, and local governments, the bar, and the general public.

A private branch library, located in the Chicago loop, is maintained for the use of the Supreme Court in Chicago and the First District Appellate Court.

Illinois Supreme Court Library

The Cook County Law Library serves the information needs of the legal profession, judiciary, self-represented litigants and the public. The library connects residents to timely and authoritative legal resources that promote access to justice for all. 

The main branch of the Law Library is located in downtown Chicago at the the Daley Center and offers all library users an extensive collection of practical legal resources in print and many premier legal databases. Specialized collections include government documents as well as foreign and international law including current and historical materials.

Cook County Law Library



Academic law librarians are an integral part of the daily life of a law school community. They work closely with law professors and instruct law students in effective legal research techniques. In addition, academic law librarians perform functions essential to library operations such as acquiring, processing, and cataloging new library materials; managing existing collections; and disseminating information about the holdings and services of the library.


Hundreds of law libraries serve the legal information needs of government entities at national, state/provincial, and local levels. Law Libraries are within courts, agencies, and legislative bodies to serve the legal information needs of their employees. Some government law libraries also serve the practicing bar and public.


Providing hard-to-locate information on a timely basis is a key role of private law librarians. Typical reference services include database searching, bibliography preparation, client development and marketing support, and current awareness programs. Private law librarians commonly perform research in non-law areas such as corporate, financial, market, medical, and news. Many private law librarians use their Information Science skills to manage their parent institution’s business records, litigation dockets, and in-house education programs.


Introduction to Law Librarians from across the country

Illinois Supreme Court Commission interview with Chicago Law Librarian