Law and Documents Research Guide
The State Law Library has an extensive law collection consisting of the laws, regulations, and higher court decisions of the U.S. government and all fifty states which can be searched through the
State Library's catalog. The library offers other information through in-house subscription databases such as Hein Online and WestLaw. This collection is especially strong in current and historical Pennsylvania legal materials. It includes Pennsylvania appellate court records and briefs, legal treatises and periodicals, and Pennsylvania court reports. Current and historic materials from other states can also be located here.
This area also provides access to the State and Federal Documents collections.
Pennsylvania State Documents Depository
The State Library is the official depository for public printed publications of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This collection provides an historical repository of materials of the government of Pennsylvania from the 1700s to the present. A system of depository libraries has been set up so that many state publications can be used at locations outside of Harrisburg. Many of the publications are available electronically and may be located and accessed through the Library's catalog.
Federal Documents Depository
The State Library participates in the U.S. Government Printing Office Federal Depository Program. The collection dates back to the mid-1800s, with new materials being received on a continual basis. The State Library is the Regional Federal Depository Library for the Commonwealth, and therefore receives a copy of every U.S. government publication distributed to depository libraries. Many federal publications are published electronically and may be located and accessed through Library's catalog.
How do I find what you have?
Our collection has laws that go back as early as the 1600's. Support materials such as West's Law Digest, American Jurisprudence, BNA Tax guides are also available to circulate. There is a large collection of materials from the Pennsylvania Bar Institute on a variety of legal subjects. Books of various forms such a landlord agreements, court forms and others are available for customers to copy or scan. Specific information can be found in the Library's catalog.
What if I can't find what I'm looking for?
Ask a Librarian – contact the Law Library directly at 717-787-3273 or at
What if I can't get to the State Library?
Our staff is ready to assist you. Staff has the ability to scan and email articles or forms that you may need. Paper copies are $0.15 per page. Scanners are available for public use at no cost to the customer. Staff will can and email, within limits, to our patrons.
What other places can I look for legal and government information?
Federal and State Sources
Law Portals & Directories