The history of the Brooklyn Supreme Court Law Library goes back to 1850 when thirty attorneys each contributed one hundred dollars to found a law library. The trustees of this private library must have been highly regarded because in 1863, when the State Legislature passed Chapter Law 43 to create a “Law Library of the Second Judicial District,” the Library’s trustees were authorized to manage the new court library. The Library continued to be a private library, open only to dues paying members, even after being merged with the Supreme Court Library in 1880. In 1993, the Office of Court Administration took over the administration of the library and made it open to the public in April 1994. The Library is now organized under sections 813 and 814 of the the Judiciary Law (c.662 of 1993).
The Library's collection emphasizes New York state practice.
ARTICLE 21--COURT LIBRARIES
' 813. Court law libraries
' Each county of the state shall have a court law library which shall be governed as provided by section eight hundred fourteen of this article. Such libraries shall be open to the public, however, the chief administrator of the courts may issue guidelines for the use and operation of such libraries. All supreme court and county court libraries established as of the effective date of this section are continued as court law libraries, including the following as they have been named:
JOSEPH F. BARNARD MEMORIAL LIBRARY AT POUGHKEEPSIE;
DAVID L. FOLLETT MEMORIAL LIBRARY AT NORWICH;
HAMILTON ODELL LIBRARY AT MONTICELLO;
EMORY A. CHASE MEMORIAL LIBRARY AT CATSKILL;
FRANCIS BERGAN LAW LIBRARY AT ALBANY;
LOUIS H. FOLMER LAW LIBRARY AT CORTLAND;
JOSEPH F. EGAN MEMORIAL SUPREME COURT LAW LIBRARY AT SCHENECTADY;
ERNEST N. WARREN LAW LIBRARY AT ITHACA;
F. WALTER BLISS SUPREME COURT LIBRARY AT SCHOHARIE;
JOSEPH P. MOLINARI SUPREME COURT LIBRARY AT COOPERSTOWN;
COURT OF APPEALS LIBRARY AT SYRACUSE and
CHARLES B. SWARTWOOD LAW LIBRARY AT ELMIRA.
ARTICLE 21--COURT LIBRARIES
' 814. Care and management of court law libraries
1. Each court law library shall be under the care and management of the chief administrator of the courts. Each shall have a board of trustees, which shall consist of four members, all of whom shall be residents of the county in which the library is located, and who shall be appointed by the chief administrator in accordance with this section. The chair of the board shall be a justice of the supreme court or, if no justice resides in the county, a judge of the county court, family court or of the surrogate's court of the county. Of the remaining members of the board, one shall be an attorney who has been admitted to the practice of law in this state; one shall be a member of the board of supervisors or other legislative body of the county in which the library is located, or in the case of a county wholly contained within a city, of the legislative body of such city, and one member shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the president of the county bar association. In addition to the four members of each board of trustees provided for hereinabove, the chief administrator of the courts may, in his discretion, appoint such other members as he deems appropriate. The members of the board shall serve without pay for a term of two years and shall be eligible to be reappointed to successive terms of office. Membership on a board of trustees shall terminate whenever a member ceases to be a resident of the county, or ceases to hold public office if the holding of such public office was required at the time of such member's appointment to the board. A vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as an original appointment.
2. Each board of trustees shall provide the chief administrator with such assistance as he or she shall require in maintaining and operating the court law library.
3. In the event of any change in the designation of a court law library for the purpose of receiving materials transmitted pursuant to paragraph c of subdivision four of section one hundred two of the executive law, the chief administrator shall cause the previously designated library within such judicial district to transfer all such materials in its possession to the newly designated library.
4. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the supreme court library in borough of Brooklyn nor to the supreme court library at Buffalo until April first, nineteen hundred ninety-four. Such libraries are continued as court law libraries under the provisions of this article effective April first, nineteen hundred ninety-four.