Supreme Court and State Law Library

Supreme Court and State Law Library


Old Supreme Court Library in the Capitol Building

The Alabama Supreme Court and State Law Library is the oldest law library in Alabama. It was established in 1828 as the Library Society of the Bench and Bar of the Supreme Court, a private non-profit organization whose goal was to provide a library for the "exclusive use of the Bench and Bar of the Supreme Court of the State." Among the names recorded in the Minute book of the Society were those of nine then or future Alabama Supreme Court justices, one future United States Supreme Court justice, and many men destined to guide and control the politics of the State.

Statutes of the Mississippi Territory 1807

In 1838, Governor Hugh McVay recommended that the Library of the Society and that of the State be housed together; however, in 1849 the greater part of the State Library was destroyed by fire. In 1859, both libraries were placed under the jurisdiction of the marshal of the Supreme Court, thus creating the Supreme Court Library as it is today. Two years later, in 1861, the Justices made the Library available to the Congress of the Confederate States, then in session in Montgomery. When the Supreme Court moved from the Capitol into the former Judicial Building in 1940, the Library moved with it. In 1965, the Library was designated the State Law Library and opened to the public.


Supreme Court and State Law Library Entrance

Today the Library, housed in Alabama's new Judicial Building, serves the Alabama appellate courts, the Alabama judicial system, and the people of the state of Alabama.

The Library has approximately 220,000 volumes in its collection, exclusive of microforms, making it one of the largest law libraries in the state. The Library is also one of the oldest U.S. Government Depository libraries in the United States, having been designated a depository in 1884. The current law library occupies approximately 38,000 square feet.

The collection of the Supreme Court and State Law Library, developed over the last century and a half, is one of the finest collections of legal materials in the state. The law library contains all of the reported decisions of the state and federal appellate courts in the United States, plus the statutes of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Contact Information

Supreme Court of Alabama
Court of Civil Appeals
Court of Criminal Appeals
State Law Library