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Bar News - March 16, 2016

Court News: NH State Law Library Has Begun Lending Books

The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Feb. 17 approved the first-ever formal book-borrowing program at the NH State Law Library, which is housed at the Supreme Court building in Concord.

Attorneys can apply to become borrowers using a form downloaded from the Court’s website. Materials may be checked out for 14 business days at a time, with an optional one-time renewal. A maximum of three items may be checked out at any time. The library will not charge fees for overdue items, but borrowing privileges may be suspended or revoked.

Librarian Mary Searles said that although the lion’s share of legal research happens online these days, most secondary sources – books about the law – are not freely available on the Internet.

“I was getting a fair number of requests to check books out, and we were obliging on an informal basis for very short time periods,” says Searles. “There got to be enough requests that I needed to either stop lending or establish some formal guidelines to manage the requests.”

The hope is that the borrowing program will make the materials more accessible to attorneys and firms of all sizes. “I think it will be especially helpful for small and solo practitioners who may not want to invest in a large law library – in print or online – and to larger offices who may need a particular resource only occasionally,” Searles says. “I’m hoping for lots of feedback from attorneys about what resources they need so we can make sure we have them in our collections.”

Other law libraries in New England, including the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries, the Rhode Island State Law Library, the Maine Law and Legislative Reference Library, and the Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries also have borrowing programs for attorneys.

To download the borrower application form, visit the “Services” section of the Law Library page on the NH Judicial Branch website,

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