The State Law Library was originally a part of the State Library. In 1907, the State Law Library Committee was charged with appointing the State Law Librarian, who would also serve as the Deputy State Librarian. The State Law Library has occupied the Main Reading Room in the Temple of Justice since the building was opened in 1913.
In 1959, under the Revised Code of Washington chapter 27.20, the State Law Library was made a part of the Supreme Court. It serves employees of all three branches of state government and provides some services to local governments. It is also open to the public.
With over 55,000 titles and over 330,000 volumes, the collection is one of the largest legal collections in the Far West. It is one of the few law libraries in the Pacific Northwest to have primary materials from all 50 states, including published official reports and statutes. The collection includes a comprehensive set of primary federal materials. The Library has a large collection of legal periodicals. The treatise collection is comprehensive.
It has a full set of printed briefs for the Washington Reports, First and Second series, and for the Washington Appellate Reports. In addition, the collection has early Washington territorial laws and reports and copies of early Washington state codes and statutes.
The Library has many early sets of reports and statutes from other states and from the federal government.
The Law Library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 United States Code).
The renovation of the historical Temple of Justice was completed in 1989. The State Law Library continues to occupy the Main Reading Room as well as a portion of the lower floor of the building.
Primary materials are located in the Main Reading Room, on the lower floor, and on the Mezzanine. Located on the lower floor are: periodicals, such as law reviews, journals, and newspapers; textbooks and treatises; Canadian and English materials; and the microfiche collection. Some older materials are stored off-site.