BLS Library Special Collections

While our library has an excellent collection of court reports, statutes, regulations, law reviews and treatises, we also have several special collections that are briefly described below in order to give the BLS community a picture of the true wealth of the library’s holdings.

Archives: The archival material of the law school is housed in the library cellar in room C38. This collection contains law school bulletins, yearbooks, commencement programs, class pictures, centennial memorabilia, BLS newspapers and newsletters and other material back to the founding of the school over a century ago. To access this collection, please see a reference librarian.

Faculty Publications: While some books written by the faculty are available in the lower level main collection and law review articles are available in Hein Online, Lexis, Westlaw and the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), the library keeps a copy of all faculty-authored books, book chapters and law review articles in a secure storage collection. If you are unable to locate an article, book or book chapter written by a member of the faculty, please ask a reference librarian for assistance.

Government Documents: Our library is a depository for United States government documents, as are over 1,200 libraries throughout the United States. While we select a small percentage of documents in print, more and more depository items are now available electronically. This change in depository distribution allows the public to view these items from their homes and offices as well as from libraries if they do not have home or office access to a computer. As part of our membership in the depository program, we allow members of the public access to our electronic and print documents with no entry restrictions. Reference Librarian Rosemary Campagna supervises the depository collection and provides reference assistance.

Joint International Law Project: The Joint International Law Project (JILP) was begun in 1983 as a shared collection of international law resources among the libraries of the City University of New York School of Law (CUNY), New York Law School (NYLS) and Brooklyn Law School. When the project began each library acquired a core collection of international materials in predetermined areas of international law that were agreed upon by the participants. For example, New York Law School was primarily responsible for European Union materials, Brooklyn Law School for United Nations materials and CUNY Law School for materials on developing countries.

For the past several years, due to a variety of circumstances, the libraries have moved away from the collective decision making on purchases in international law, allowing libraries to continue their commitment to international law but permitting each library to purchase whatever material it wants and needs. The directors of the three libraries are looking for new ways to work together in the area of international cooperative collection development, but one thing remains the same—open access. Members of the BLS community have access to the libraries of CUNY and NYLS by just showing a valid BLS ID card upon entering either of our partner libraries and we reciprocate for students and faculty of New York Law School and CUNY Law School.

Sobel Collection & Rare Books: The library has a collection of hundreds of rare books ranging from treatises such as Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, Wigmore on Evidence, Yearbooks of the Selden Society, and Howell’s State Trials, but we also have an another impressive collection of rare books given to the library by the late Judge Nathan R. Sobel of the Brooklyn Supreme Court in 1996. When the Court could no longer maintain this collection, Judge Sobel offered it to BLS and the books were transferred to the renovated BLS library and shelved in rare book cases on the second mezzanine. This collection covers a wealth of topics, including trials, biographies, both English and U.S. legal history, American reports and digests and New York City and Brooklyn law-related materials.

All the material in both the general rare book collection and the Sobel collection are cataloged and listed in SARA, our online catalog. Since these valuable collections are kept in locked cases on the second floor, second mezzanine and third floor of the library, users must ask a member of the library staff at the circulation desk to retrieve these materials. All of the items are also non-circulating, but they are available for use during all regular library hours.