Princeton University Library Legal Research Guides
Princeton and the Study of Law
The law collection at Princeton University Library is a rich, historical collection that has developed over the decades without supporting the research and teaching of a law school. The strengths of the collection are U.S. constitutional law, international law and comparative law. Princeton has an extensive collection of primary sources of U.S. (federal) law and New Jersey state law. With a combination of the print and electronic sources available through the library, legal researchers at Princeton will find many of their research needs met.
Although there is no law school at Princeton University, the Library’s law collection supports the study of law and legal issues in the Politics Department as well as in several law-related programs. The Program in Law and Public Affairs draws upon academic, legal practice, governmental, perspectives as well as those from policy-making institutions to explore the role of law in constituting democratic politics and democratic societies. The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions explores issues of constitutional law and government, and supports scholarship, teaching and public debate on the relationship between political thought and public law. The Woodrow Wilson School offers a four-year M.P.A.-J.D. Joint Program in Law and Public Affairs in cooperation with several law schools including those of New York University, Columbia, Stanford and Yale. There is a cooperative program with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Note About the Law Collection
As a final preliminary note, please remember that even with the tremendous range of sources available at Princeton, there are important legal materials which will not be found here. Some legal materials, especially secondary sources, can be borrowed from another library. In that case, the Borrow Direct service enables any Princeton faculty, student or staff member to request books directly from the thirty-seven million volumes of seven other major research libraries. The requested volume will be available here at Princeton within four business days. For other books, and for journal articles and a variety of other materials, the Interlibrary Loan department of the University Library will borrow a book or get a photocopy of an article from another library for any Princeton faculty, student or staff member without charge. See the Interlibrary Loan button on the library web page.
Other legal materials, including reference sets of statutory and case law, will not ordinarily be loaned, and therefore necessitate a visit to a holding library, such as Rutgers University (both the Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark Law Libraries are open to the public), the New Jersey State Library in Trenton, Columbia University, New York University, and University of Pennsylvania. Information on using these collections is available from the law specialist in the Social Science Reference Center.