Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Facts About the Law Library & Collection

The Allen and Alene Smith Addition...

Designed by:
Gunnar Birkerts & Associates
Birmingham, MI
Architects, 1981 Building and 1996 Jackier Rare Book Room
DiClemente Siegal Design Inc.
Southfield, MI
Architects, 2003 S-3 Completion

Built by:
J.A. Fredman, Inc.
Pontiac, MI
General Contractors
J.C. Beal, Inc.
Ann Arbor, MI
Contractor, Jackier Rare Book Room
DeMaria Building Co, Inc.
Novi, MI
Contractor, S-3 Completion

Opened: August, 1981

Size: 77,000 square gross feet

Depth: Sub-3 is 50 feet below grade

Capacities (volumes of books):
475,000 in finished space
25,000 in Jackier Rare Book Room

Seating:
At lightwell balconies*: 36
At tables*: 178
In carrels*: 222
At computers and microform readers: 52
In lounge seats: 38
In group study rooms: 24
Total: 550

* Balcony, table & carrel seats have outlets for laptops.

The Law Library Collection...

Size (volumes) as of June 30, 2017:
Paper: 730,131
Non-print: 321,309
Audio-visual: 15
Total Volumes: 1,051,455

Size (titles) as of June 30, 2017:
Paper: 282,003
Microform: 26,095
Audio-visual: 14
Electronic format: 245,099
Total Titles: 553,211

Location of books (approximate):
305,000 paper volumes in Legal Research
413,000 paper volumes in Smith Addition
319,000 non-print volumes

Subscriptions: 2,201

Electronic databases: 1,167

Our Mission

The University of Michigan Law Library is “maintained and administered as a part of the instruction and research operation of the Law School.” (Board of Regents Bylaw 12.02).

The Law Library’s purpose is to build collections, provide effective access to legal information in diverse formats and provide facilities and services to support the teaching, research and educational needs of Law School faculty and students. The Law Library’s collections, services and policies are primarily designed to benefit Law School faculty, students, staff and scholars in the Law School’s research scholar program. The Law Library also welcomes others who need to conduct legal research, including University of Michigan faculty, staff and students, as well as attorneys, researchers and the public.

Law Library Collection

The Library’s comprehensive collection covers Anglo-American, foreign, comparative, and international law, and includes legislation, court reports, and appropriate administrative material from all U.S. jurisdictions, Great Britain and the Commonwealth, Europe, and most African, Asian and South American countries.

The Library is a depository for documents of the European Union, and was the first such depository in an American university, in 1957. It is also a selective depository for U.S. government publications, and extensively collects documents of international intergovernmental organizations.

The Library seeks to provide a complete, worldwide collection of primary material, and a research-level collection of secondary and research resources in print, microform, and computer formats.

There is special depth in the collections relating to indigenous people, including Native Americans; French coutumes; pre-Soviet Russia; early American session laws and court reports; Roman law; foreign law, and international law. The Library has the complete microfiche set of 19th and 20th Century Legal Treatises, with full cataloging: and has all United Nations documents on microfiche, as well as microform and paper League of Nations documents.

See also, Former Director Margaret Leary's "Building a Foreign Law Collection at the University of Michigan Law Library, 1910-1960." Law Library Journal​ vol. 94, no. 3 (Summer 2002): 395-425.

Read the Law Library's current Collection Development Policy.
(Revised August 27, 2014)

The Oldest Book in the Collection

The oldest book in the Law Library is:
Nider, Johannes, 1380-1438. De contractibus mercatorum. [Cologne, Ulrich Zel, ca. 1468. [30] leaves, the last blank. 22.5 cm high. First edition. Catalog url: http://umil.iii.com/record=b1115735.

The oldest piece in the Law Library is a manuscript:
Calderinus, Joannes, d. 1365. De ecclesiastico interdicto: distinctiones decretalium (also a series of Questions disputed by Calderinus at Bologna between 1330 and 1346 and similar disputations of Paolo Liazari, canonist at Bologna). [111] leaves. 39 cm high. Catalog url: http://umil.iii.com/record=b1117332.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​