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Law Resources - State Library of Pennsylvania

This guide is to help users find the wealth of resources available through the State Library of Pennsylvania


Welcome to the State Library of Pennsylvania.


Tuesday and Thursday 10am to 4pm

Wednesday 10am to 8pm

Reference and Research

If you have a question related to law, email or call 717-787-3273.

Appointments encouraged by emailing to have items pulled or talk to a librarian

Commonwealth employees may access online collections at any time with your library card.

History of PA State Library

View of the restored ceilings in the Law Library


 The State Library of Pennsylvania has been collecting law materials ever since it started in 1745. As the clerk for the General Assembly, Benjamin Franklin was given the commission to acquire law and other reference books to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. 

 This collection contains primarily law books, but also includes dictionaries, books on architecture, philosophy, history and religion. It can still be viewed at the General Assembly Collection in the State Library Rare Collections Library.

Collection Highlights

"The Works of Tacitus", a text from the general Assembly Collection

What can the State Library staff do for you?

The staff of the State Library of Pennsylvania welcomes the opportunity to assist you in your legal research but cannot conduct research for you, give legal advice or do anything which might constitute the unauthorized practice of law. The law librarians are professional researchers, not attorneys, and information provided by the staff is not a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal advice, we recommend you contact a licensed attorney.

Law library staff can Law library staff cannot

explain how to use legal resources, and answer questions regarding the Library and its collection.

  • Do you have any books on ….?
  • How do I find things in Pennsylvania Jurisprudence?

perform research on behalf of a patron in response to a legal question or in response to a request for legal advice.

Should I create a trust for my family?

How can I create a Limited Liability Company?

help you locate a particular statute or case when you have a specific reference or citation.

  • I need a specific case from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
  • Can you give me the PA Code as it appeared in 1971?

interpret the meaning of statutes, cases or regulations, or how it might impact a particular situation or case.

  • What does this statute mean?
  • If I evict a tenant, what can they sue me for?

assist in locating printed or online legal resources within the collection such as Westlaw, HEINOnline, statutes and form books.

  • How can I search for law review articles on a particular subject?
  • Where are the form books concerning corporations?

offer advice on any legal procedure, court rule, or jurisdictional question. 

  • How can I start a class action?
  • I want to pursue a shared parenting agreement. Can I do that even if I have a few misdemeanors?
  • Where would be a good place to file a case?
  • What are my odds if I take this to court?

refer you to appropriate agencies or suggest lawyer referral resources.

  • Can you give me the phone number for the Attorney General’s Office?
  • I can’t afford an attorney. Which organization can I contact for legal aid?

choose statutes, cases, regulations or lawyers for your situation.

  • My ex wants more child support; are there cases out there to support my side of the story?
  • Somebody’s been squatting on some vacant land I own; is there a statute I can use to evict them?
  • Which lawyer should I go to?

e-mail, photocopy or mail limited print resources when requested by specific citation, restricted by copyright law.

choose specific forms, language to use in forms, or assist in filling out any form.

  • Can you help me with this form? I don’t know any of those big legal words.

tell you how to file a document, what document to file, or how to proceed with court actions.

  • How do I get my document filed in Chester County?
  • Somebody sued me; what do I do now?

These guidelines were adapted from the Supreme Court of Ohio Law Library.