Law Library Collections
Collection Description & Collection Development Policy
A summary of the Law Library’s collection appears below. For more information about the library’s collection policies see our Collection Development Policy.
The Law Library holds one of the preeminent legal research collections in the United States, providing access to materials in print and/or digital format as appropriate. The significant depth and breadth of the collection supports research on almost all traditional and emerging legal topics. Library resources are available for legal research in most jurisdictions, with particular emphasis on the law of Minnesota, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, British Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries, and Western Europe, including an especially strong collection of Swedish materials. The library also maintains strong public and private international law collections.
The University of Minnesota Law School’s Stefan A. Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center holds one of the outstanding collections of rare legal books in the United States. The books form the Arthur C. Pulling Rare Books Collection, more than 25,000 volumes of rare and special texts printed from the fifteenth through twentieth centuries. The Collection is a resource for the study of American and English law and history, as well as continental and other law.
Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center
The Riesenfeld Rare Books Research Center houses one of the strongest collections of rare law books in the United States, built up significantly in the first half of the twentieth century. The Center is also home to the Law School Archives, documenting the Law School’s history and the work of its faculty.
Digital Special Collections
The Law Library Digital Special Collections contains three major digital collections:
- Clarence Darrow Digital Collection
- Walter F. Mondale: Spokesman for Reform and Justice in the U.S. Senate Collection
- Laws in Ireland for the Suppression of Popery
Digitized versions of these past exhibits are available:
- Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective
- Magna Carta 800 Years
- Equal Caricature Under the Law - Supreme Court Bobbleheads by The Green Bag
- Treasures of the Riesenfeld Center
A digitized version of the commemorative volume, “Never Whisper Justice”: A Tribute in Photographs to the University of Minnesota Law School, is also presented.
Human Rights Library & Professor Weissbrodt Human Rights Files
Learn about the Law Library’s Human Rights Collection and Professor David Weissbrodt’s Human Rights Files from his work in the field of human rights.
University of Minnesota Human Rights Library (Online)
The University of Minnesota Human Rights Library houses one of the largest collections of more than sixty thousand core human rights documents. Documents are available in nine languages - Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.
Hedin Law, Literature & the Arts Collection
The Barbara Steffens Hedin Alcove on Law, Literature, and the Arts houses an extensive collection of classic and popular works of legal fiction.
Reserve, Microforms & Loft Leisure Collections
Located behind the circulation desk, the Law Library’s Reserve Collection includes frequently requested items, selected treatises, practice materials and study aid materials, as well as items placed on course reserve by the law school faculty. To check out items in the Reserve Collection, provide the circulation desk staff with the item’s call number.
Due to their high demand, Reserve Collection materials circulate for three hours at a time.
Faculty members that wish to provide sample or past exams and model answers for their students can have these materials placed on reserve in hard copy and/or in digital form. The hard copies of exams are kept in binders near the circulation desk. These binders do not circulate, but may be used for photocopying. Digital copies can be accessed via the Course Guide section of the Law School website. Note: not all past exams are available. Ask at the circulation desk if you need help locating an exam.
The Law Library has a significant amount of material available in microform format. This includes microfilm and microfiche. Some examples of Law Library materials in microform format include: UN documents, Human Rights documents, many legal periodicals, and Supreme Court records and briefs.
Many microforms are located in the Microforms Room, room 140, 1st floor of the Law Library. Some microforms are located in Storage and can be retrieved upon request. Reference Staff are available to assist in the location and use of microform materials during library hours.
Microform materials do not circulate. A microform reader-scanner is located in room 140 on the plaza level for viewing and scanning microforms. A printer is not available to make copies, however, you can scan images and email or save them to your own flash drive/memory stick. The Library does not supply flash drives.
Loft Leisure Reading Collection
The Loft Area, located on the second floor of the law library, just at the top of the stairs, features an open. casual and comfortable seating area where conversation is permitted. This area also includes a collection of leisure reading materials and games. All of these materials have been donated to the law library. If you would like to use the materials, feel free! You can take the materials from the library without checking them out and return them whenever you want.
If you have materials to donate to the collection, just drop them off at the circulation desk or put them in the book drop after hours.
Also in this area are selected popular news magazines, and other periodicals. Daily local and national newspapers are available at the library Circulation desk.
U.S. Documents (Federal Depository Library Program)
The Law Library is a selective federal depository library, receiving approximately 4% of the U.S. documents available through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) program. The Library primarily collects law-related items from Congress, the Judiciary, and the Executive branch, including the Department of Justice. The Library relies on the University of Minnesota Libraries, the state’s regional depository, to provide access to depository resources available in electronic format through the shared online catalog, MNCAT.
The public may access materials received under the FDLP during the Law Library’s regular public access hours. Individuals using the materials must abide by all Law School, Law Library and University rules. The Law Library adheres to the policies set forth in the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program.
Related website: Government Publications (University Libraries)