You are here

Court Officers and Staff: Librarians

In 1948 Congress authorized each court of appeals to appoint a librarian, and any necessary library assistants, who would be employed at the pleasure of the court. Since the 1890s, when the Department of Justice began to provide case reporters and other law books to judges and court staff, the management of the court libraries had been the responsibility of clerks of court, marshals, or their deputies. Under the 1948 act, the circuit librarians were responsible for providing library services to all the courts within their respective circuit. But because they operated out of the courts of appeals, the district court libraries became, in essence, satellite repositories whose holdings were managed by the district courts' deputy clerks, law clerks, and judges' secretaries rather than by librarians. In 1982 Congress authorized the circuit librarians to appoint and supervise library assistants, many of whom now manage the libraries of district and bankruptcy courts.

The first Librarian of the Supreme Court was appointed in 1887. The Supreme Court library had been established within the Library of Congress in 1832. The Supreme Court library was under the direction of the Librarian of Congress until 1841 and subsequently under the clerk or marshal of the Court until 1887. The Supreme Court established a separate library when it moved into its present building in 1935. In 1938 Congress made the librarian a statutory officer of the Supreme Court.

Further Reading:
Brock, Christine A. "Law Libraries and Librarians: A Revisionist History; or More Than You Ever Wanted to Know," Law Library Journal 67 (1974): 325-361.

Hudon, Edward G. "The Library Facilities of the Supreme Court of the United States: A Historical Study," University of Detroit Law Journal 3 (1956): 181-207.

Taylor, Raymond M. Federal Court Libraries . Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 1981.