West Virginia Judiciary

WV State Law Library

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Mission Statement

The West Virginia State Law Library’s primary mission is to assist the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, the statewide unified court system, and all judicial staff in carrying out the administration of justice. The State Law Library provides access to law-related information to the judiciary, legal community and the public. The State Law Library accomplishes these purposes through the acquisition of print and electronic resources; creation of policies and rules for the use of these resources; and the periodic review of library programs and services.



law Library History

The West Virginia State Law Library began as part of the state of Virginia as codified in Chapter 19, Section 19, of the Code of Virginia 1849, which states there "shall be two libraries; one at Lewisburg [now West Virginia] and the other at the State Capitol." Virginia Code Chapter 19, Section 5 designated the Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Virginia as the General Librarian.

The “modern” West Virginia State Law Library was created early in the 20th century under the direction of B.H. Oxley who was appointed by the governor.  The library was originally for use by government officials only but other persons were allowed to use library materials on the premises.  Early in the 1920s, J.A. Jackson was appointed State Law Librarian by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and held that position for more than 40 years. He served the Court for over 60 years.

By 1928 the State Law Library moved into its current home in the East Wing of the State Capitol.  Famed architect Cass Gilbert designed the current library book stack space using the bookshelves as columns and hanging the structure of the upper three levels from metal beams.  The floors of the intermediate levels are made of translucent glass imported from Italy.  This glass is no longer made and when panels are cracked they must be replaced with plastic.

From a collection of books and periodicals strictly for use by government officials, the State Law Library has evolved into an agency serving the legal information needs of all West Virginia citizens. The collection includes over 150,000 volumes and resources. The West Virginia State Law Library is a partial Federal Depository Library for government documents. The Library is open to the public five days a week.

This Library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents.  Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 United States Code).