Law School Libraries: Offsite Storage

James Milles

Associate Dean for Legal Information Services

Director of the Law Library

University at Buffalo Law School

August 13, 2003


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University of Akron

Superseded editions, little used material

American University

We at American are members of the Washington Research Library Consortium, which maintains a centralized state of the art off site storage facility for all its members plus several other libraries on a contract basis.  We put all our pre-1980 periodicals out there a couple of summers back and last year began putting older treatises out there.  All remain fully cataloged and can be retrieved easily and delivered to us by the Consortium courier.  At present we have about 25,000 volumes in storage and will probably have to add about 10,000 to 15,000 every year from now on.

University of California—Davis

We have about 40,000 volumes in storage in the NRLF (Northern [California] Regional Storage Facility) in Richmond CA (about an hour away) - replaced editions, casebooks, dead periodicals, old stuff like LRA, CJ, Mining Cases - plus I've done several waves of weeding (I can only describe the criteria as "subjective" - lots of social science stuff) - faculty get a "weeding
list" before each shipment is sent to NRLF.  Retrieval is usually one business day.  If we had not been doing this, books would be piling up on the floors.

University of Chicago

The D'Angelo Law Library maintains 16,000 linear feet of books, approximately 120,000 volumes, in off-site storage.  The off-site storage is in the basement of Harper Library, located two blocks from the Law School on the
University of Chicago's campus.  Collections housed in this off-site storage location include the following: (1) United States Supreme Court Records and Briefs (we are a depository); (2) primary law collections for common law countries (except Great Britain) including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa; (3)pre-1978 casebooks, directories and formbooks; (4) duplicate copies of federal case reporters (F.2d, F.Supp., L.Ed) and the regional
reporters; (5) law materials for African, Asian, Middle Eastern countries (except for Israel and Japan); (6) primary and secondary law materials for southeast Asia.  The library also has on-site storage, two basement spaces with 18,000 linear feet of compact shelving.  Collections in on-site storage include primary laws for all U.S. states except for California, Illinois and New York, pre-1978 law treatises, and faculty and alumni publications.  On-site and off-site storage are closed stacks; the circulation staff pages items
from these collections Monday through Friday.

University of Cincinnati

“Free” and unlimited access to a remote storage facility (Southwest Regional Depository) that we share cooperatively with Wright State U and Miami U (Ohio).  A second add-on was completed to the facility just about a year ago.  The building is not retrofitted; it was constructed for the purpose of providing off-campus storage for the three universities.  It is climate-controlled and books are shelved according to size on specially constructed 30 ft. high stacks.  For retrieval purposes, each item is bar-coded and can be delivered to the library within 36 to 48 hours (the facility is located about 35 miles from UC).  Transmission of digitized images is becoming more commonplace as time goes on, so books may not have to leave the building.

Cleveland State University

30,000 volumes in storage—duplicate copies
of superceded reporters, digests, etc. and law reviews prior to 1980.

Columbia Law School

About 80,000 volumes in remote storage.  Most of it is Anglo-American treatises from roughly 1865 to 1979.  This batch was chosen because we changed classification schemes for this material in 1979.  In addition we have some dead minor serials and a small part of the international law collection which focuses on international relations rather than law.

University of Denver

Bound volumes of law reviews now available via Hein Online; duplicate copies of selected titles; earlier editions; official state reports; older CLE materials; less-frequently used materials; and pre-1900 treatises.

University of DC

We have had all of our old, pre-NRS state reporters in off-site storage for three years.  They are available within 24 ours of request, and can be delivered to us.  We bought the LLMC microfiche to back them up as well.  In three years, no one has asked us to retrieve a volume, and no one has used the microfiche.

Duke University

We do have materials in a University wide off campus site.  We just started moving materials in this past summer.  At this point we have moved duplicate sets of finite sets such as CJS and AmJur and things along that line.  We have not moved anything yet that is not a duplicate
of what we have in the library.

Emory University

We do not use remote storage presently.  Emory does have a convenient remote storage facility for all campus libraries which is about a mile from campus.  There is regularly scheduled pick-up and delivery service.  We'll probably have to place some materials there in a few years.

University of Florida

Three years ago we had approximately 20,000 volumes in off-site storage, mostly multiple copies of reports and state materials. At that
time we gave away about 8,000 volumes to a new law school in Florida and discarded all the rest for lack of space and funding to maintain it.

University of Georgia

We're just beginning to send things to offsite storage.  The first things we took were duplicate copies of reporters.  Next were non-law monographs before 1975, old form books, casebooks before 1990, and duplicate copies of legal monographs before 1975.  Next will be Patent Gazette, superseded editions of state encyclopedias, and state practice materials older than 1990 (except GA).  We were planning to send superseded editions of state digests, but decided just to discard them instead, since all the info in them is in the Decennials.

Golden Gate University

We have some materials stored in a warehouse building located across the street from our library.  We keep pre-1980 law reviews there, as well as duplicate copies of ALR"s and reporters.  We have also sent some materials over that we will likely weed out of the collection at some point, but have not yet made a decision on.


over 400,000 volumes stored off-site

Lewis & Clark

We have used offsite storage for a number of years.  The cost of its sq.ft. is significantly less that what we would have paid for new construction.  We keep duplicates of periodicals, reporters as well as back loose leafs, and old editions of treatises and casebooks.

University of Minnesota


University of Missouri

The University of Missouri system (all four campuses) share a storage facility in Columbia. Just last summer we began to use it for some of our materials.  So far we have sent over there primarily official state reporters (to which we had stopped subscribing in about 1995).  We also have sent a very few old, over-sized journals and other odds and ends. About 20,000 volumes so far.

New York University

We're selecting our first 50k vols to send.

University of North Dakota

There are 21,663 law library volumes in remote storage housed across the street from the law school in the former location of the medical school library.  The main campus library shares some of this space as well.  Titles there include pre-NRS state reports, multiple copies of ND Reports, ND session laws, superseded ND codes, some older attorney general opinions from various states which we also duplicate in microfiche (not in remote storage), and scattered state bar association reports.  Titles in storage are generally not cataloged unless they have a copy or copies located in the main law collection.  Patrons mainly request the older state reports and library staff retrieve the material for them.

Northern Illinois University

We have about 25,000 volumes in off-site storage. 
-- law reviews published before 1990 that are also available in Hein-On-Line (excluding  the reviews of Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, and the Illinois schools);
-- Court Reports: 2d copy of the National Reporter System except N.E.2d; older volumes of some subject-specific court reports in labor,
tax, education, and patents;
-- Congressional Record: All transcript volumes through 1999;
-- Federal Register: All volumes through 1999 except indexes
 -- Some treatises that are:  NOT classics, little-used, more than 10 years out-of-date and on subjects for which we have much additional
-- Foreign Law: Older court reports from the United Kingdom and Canadian statutes

University of Notre Dame

20K in offsite storage now; another 70K will be sent in the fall.  The 20K includes complete back run of CFR (not a good choice according to my reference people), post 1900 serial set and much "in process" (AKA junk we have not yet gotten to).  The 70K will include (probably) all superseded loose leaf services, state session laws, pre 1900 reporters both official and unofficial, superseded codes, superseded reference tools, possibly substantial Commonwealth collections.  Any other large, little used sets.

Ohio State University

Several thousand volumes in a remote storage facility located on the edge of the campus.  So far, we have used the facility for little used material (e.g. Ohio records & briefs).  Everything we send there is under bibliographic control and can be retrieved through the online catalog; I expect that we will be sending increasing amounts of material to the facility as our available shelving here dwindles.

Pace Law School

We currently have about 30,000 volumes in remote storage.  Currently, stored materials include most law reviews published before 1980 (we keep Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and Chicago on site); our second copy of the NRS; official state reports; Canadian provincial reports; British reports; rare books (we have no appropriate facilities to store them at present); and some miscellaneous extra copies we use for fill in.  In other words, what we store tends to be easily retrievable by citation.  Some of these materials will be “repatriated” this year when additional storage space, not contiguous to the library, is made available on campus.

University of Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania State University

After Harvard and Yale we have the third largest off-site storage according to last years ABA stats.  We are approaching 100,000 vol.  Included are most official reports, dups of NRS, 2nd copies of law reviews, Pa Brief and Records, superceded statutes and old editions of treatises (and some just old), and lots of gov. docs, particularly congressional material from before microfiche.

Stetson University

Stetson has about 12,000 volumes of duplicate law reviews and state reporters stored off-site. So far, we have not had cause to retrieve any of them and but for the numbers, would love to throw them away.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Duplicate copies of West Regional Reporters, all of the ALR series, and the official California Supreme and Appellate Reports: about 20,000 volumes.

Vanderbilt University

About 30,000 volumes still in offsite storage.
We have a lot of older periodicals (mostly pre-1975).  Older foreign material.  We had duplicate copies of the regional reporters, but we've tossed a bunch of those in the last few months.

University of Virginia

1. Boxes n' boxes of archives, manuscripts and other types of special collection materials
2. Most all serial duplicates (e.g. we only have one set of the regional reporters; law reviews; ALRs)
3. Older state reports and some foreign reports; the India Law Rep. is one that I can remember  [We are currently looking for other little used foreign titles to go in storage]
4. Virginia Supreme Court Records and Briefs
5. Many older law reviews that are on JSTOR or Hein Online

Wayne State University

Michigan Supreme Court Records and Briefs - prior to 1950;

Great Britain Parliamentary Debates - entire set;

CCH. Standard Federal Tax Reporters (war years up to 1989 or so);

Recently recommended for storage:

  Law Deweys titles

  Law Los Angeles classified foreign law materials (cancelled in 1975 or so)

  Law Historical Hearings 1935-1969

  Law PLI course handbooks (cancelled in 1995)

University of Wisconsin

A small portion of our collection is offsite: duplicate copies of journals and reporters; older foreign materials.  If we had more offsite space, a much larger portion of the collection would be there.

Yale University

We have about 200,000 volumes in the campus Library Shelving Facility (LSF).  It's mostly
pre-1980 foreign law (non-serials) and pre-1980 non-law materials, with exceptions for classics or materials that circulation records show are in
some demand.  Everything held in LSF is barcoded and represented in our online catalog.  Users may make requests for materials directly, and they are delivered to our Circulation Desk within 24 hours, at no cost to us or the user -- the campus picks up the cost.  We are working to cut delivering time in half.
We count about 800,000 volumes in our collection, so the off-site portion is roughly 25% of our holdings.  It's a campus-wide solution to library growth problems and can be expanded to hold more than 10 million volumes -- so we could almost double our current 10 million+ on-campus print holdings.