According to the latest ABA and AALS statistics comparing American law school libraries, the University of Iowa Law School Library has the second largest collection of volumes and microform volume equivalents and the second largest number of unique individually cataloged titles in all formats including electronic among all law school libraries. The collections of the Law Library cover all aspects of Anglo-American law. In addition the library has a very strong collection of foreign, international, and comparative law materials. Currently, the collection contains 1,336,769 million volumes and microform volume equivalents and 1,060,087 unique individually cataloged titles in all formats including electronic. As a result, the Law Library contains one of the most comprehensive collections of legal materials in the United States. All print and microform materials and many electronic materials may be found using the online catalog, InfoHawk; electronic resources not indexed in InfoHawk may be accessed via the Electronic Resources web page. Computers, CD-ROMs, DVDs and the latest in audio/visual and microform equipment are available as well.
- American Law Collection
- Government Depository Collection
- Boyd Presidential Collection
- Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Collection
- Roy J. Carver United Nations Documents Collection
- Microform Collection
- Rare Book Collection
- Legal Fiction Collection
- Law, Lawyers & Popular Culture DVD Collection (Lex Populi)
The Law Library collects in great depth primary and secondary legal materials of all kinds, on all subjects, and in all formats relating to the United States, its territories, and every state. Three of the four floors that contain the library's collections are devoted to American law, including treatises, court reports, session laws and codes, legal periodicals, looseleaf services and other serials, continuing legal education and practice materials, as well as bar materials. Substantial historical American law materials are available in microform and in electronic format including 18th and 19th Century legal treatises, US Supreme Court Records and Briefs, historical newspapers, note-worthy trials, and significant collections of government reports and documents.
The Law Library became a selective United States Government Documents Library in 1968. Current selections of United States Government Documents include approximately 27% of the items available on the Federal Depository Library Program. Our most heavily collected items include Congressional publications, Department of Justice publications, and regulatory materials from selected governmental agencies. These items may come to us in paper, microform or electronic format. The main library on campus is a full depository library, receiving all of the materials distributed through the depository program.
The Law Library became a State of Iowa Government Documents Depository Library in 1979. Originally the publications were issued either in print or microform format; presently the majority of state publications are issued only in electronic format.
The collection contains more than 2,500 volumes by and about United States Presidents, First Ladies, and presidential candidates. Important primary source materials are available, such as collections of presidential papers (including volumes from the United States Government Printing Office's series, The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States), presidential correspondence, and presidential diaries. Biographies by the finest historians are represented as well. Materials are included from each President's term in office, as well as from their lives prior to and after serving as President.
Works and papers by prominent candidates for the American presidency are included, as well as coverage of American First Ladies. There is material about every President in the collection. There are particularly strong holdings for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt.
The Law Library's Foreign, Comparative, and International Law (FCIL) collection is noteworthy for its world-class holdings in international law (the law between nations or the law concerning intergovernmental organizations), foreign law (the law of other countries), and comparative law (the study of legal systems, either religious or secular, or the study of specific issues as handled by the legal systems of various countries).
The extensive international holdings include United Nations documents; Hague Conference documents and proceedings; European Union legislation, case law, official reports, and treatise materials; human rights law (covered in both primary documents and treatise materials); and internationally-renowned materials on the practice of private international law (e.g., the law between private parties in different countries; holdings include international trade, taxation, and dispute resolution).
The Law Library makes available legal materials from all non-common law countries and systems. In particular, the Law Library has substantial current and historical holdings for Argentina, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa.
The Law Library's collection of British Commonwealth legal materials is world-class. Primary legal materials are collected for Great Britain and almost every major jurisdiction within the present and former British Commonwealth nations, especially Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The Law Library has also collected many treatises and documents from these jurisdictions.
In addition, the Law Library currently receives over 1,500 scholarly journals concentrating on foreign, comparative, and international law.
The Roy J. Carver United Nations Documents Collection is open to the public, and is unique in the following three ways:
- It is comprehensive in that the microfiche vendor has assembled all readily available United Nations documents from every period during the last 50 years.
- It is archival because it chronicles the work of all United Nations permanent and ad hoc organs, bodies, committees, commissions, and conferences from their inception. The Carver Collection also contains a complete archive of documents relating to the UN's founding, as well as many hard-to-find de-classified documents, preliminary drafts, working papers, and special reports of regional United Nations bodies.
- The approximately 100,000 microfiche are readily accessible through an electronic index, AccessUN, that is detailed and permits keyword and traditional index searches.
Among the many U.N. bodies whose work is comprehensively documented are the:
- General Assembly
- Security Council
- Economic and Social Council
- International Court of Justice
- Trusteeship Council
- Commission on Human Rights
- Commission on the Status of Women
- Committee on Disarmament
- Conference on Trade and Development
- Industrial Development Organization
- Environmental Programme
- Children's Fund
- International Law Commission
- World Food Council
The Roy J. Carver Collection also includes documents of main, standing, and ad hoc committees and regional commissions such as the:
- Committee on Contributions
- Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
- Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
- Economic Commission for Europe
The Law Library has many sets of documents, books, personal and organizational papers, and other materials in microfilm and microfiche and a few in microcard, an older format. The Library continues to acquire materials in microfilm and microfiche. Among the frequently-used collections are the U.S. House and Senate bills from 1789 to the present, Congressional committee hearings from the early 1800's to 1969, the Papers of the N.A.A.C.P., United States Supreme Court Records and Briefs from 1832 to the present, and the Roy J. Carver United Nations Document Collection (1945 - present).
Other notable holdings include the Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Legal Treatises collections, the Civil Law collections, League of Nations Documents, documents of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and World Trade Organization (WTO), and the papers of Supreme Court justices Frankfurter, Holmes, Brandeis, and Warren. For more information about the major microform sets in the collection, consult the following guides:
The microform collections are located in Room 130, the Audiovisual Room. Reader/printers are available for viewing and making paper copies, for a fee, of materials in microform.
The Legal Fiction Collection consists of approximately one thousand works of popular and literary fiction. The collection's raison d'etre is to present the broadest possible spectrum of the images and operations of lawyers, judges, and legal institutions in the United States and abroad, as portrayed in all fictional genres. Qualifying items must:
- Include a lawyer or judge as a main character; or,
- Portray the metaphysics of legal institutions; or,
- Be authored by famous lawyers or judges.
The Law, Lawyers & Popular Culture DVD Collection, informally known as Lex Populi, consists of features and documentaries in all genres. Each DVD must meet one of the following criteria to be included:
- Contains a significant trial scene;
- Has a lawyer as a significant character;
- Focuses on a current legal hot topic;
- Explores a socio-legal theme; or,
- Depicts a story about the law, legal systems, or legal education.
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