I. Introduction/Goals of Policy:

  1. To document the law library’s current collection philosophies, policies, and practices.
  2. To provide guidance to all of those involved in maintaining and developing the collection.
  3. To inform library staff, law school administrators, faculty, and students of the collection emphases and criteria for evaluating new materials and formats.
  4. To provide guidance for retention, preservation and withdrawal decisions.

II. Collection Policy: Mission Statement and General Selection Policy

The law library’s principal mission in collecting and maintaining library resources is to support the instructional and research needs of the law school, which is comprised of approximately 300 students and 23 full-time faculty. The law school also supports two student-edited journals and both the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic and the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic . The library also supports the Maine Patent Program. The philosophy behind the collection development policy of the Law Library is to ensure an excellent collection for current use.

The selection process includes close interaction with the faculty. They are consulted on a regular basis about their curricular and research needs.

Requests/suggestions made by faculty members for the Law Library collection are honored unless the cost is excessive or subject matter of the item is significantly beyond the scope of the Collection Development Policy. In such cases, the Director discusses the request with the professor and makes the final decision. In all cases, faculty requested titles are purchased and processed as law library property and expedited in processing.

The law library also serves the wider University of Maine System community.

The law library has a secondary mission to serve the people of the state of Maine due to its status as one of only two public Law Research Libraries in the state. Members of the local legal community and members of the general public make use of the library.

Requests From Other Patrons

Requests/suggestions for items to add to the Law Library collection are welcomed from all Law Library patrons. Suggestions will be considered by following the Collection Development Policy and taking into account budget limitations.

III. Responsibility for Collection Development

The Director has the final responsibility, as delegated by the Dean of the University of Maine School of Law, for the maintenance and development of the Law Library collections. In turn, the Director relies on other librarians to carry out the day-to-day implementation of these duties. This is accomplished by the Collection Development Committee, which meets regularly and is chaired by the Director. The Collection Development Committee is comprised of the Director, the Assistant Law Librarian for Technical Services, the Collection Development Librarian, the Law Library’s Reference Librarians, and the Serials Librarian. The committee has responsibility for making large-scale purchases or withdrawal decisions and ensures the integrity of the collection.

IV. Areas of Cooperative Collection Development

Cooperative collection development and resource sharing agreements at the local, regional and national levels are a part of the Law Library collection development program. They allow the Law Library to rely on other collections for materials that are often beyond the collection scope of the Law Library. Cooperative agreements include acquisitions, retention policies, joint purchases, and other arrangements.

The Law Library participates in several formal and informal cooperative agreements including the following:

Federal Depository Library Program

The Garbrecht Law Library at the University of Maine School of Law was granted Federal Depository status in 1964 through the Federal Depository Library Program. The Law Library has a Selective Housing Agreement with the University of Southern Maine Libraries. The two libraries collect and make available approximately twenty-eight percent of available government documents in multiple formats. The University of Maine Library at Orono is a full depository library and provides access to tangible and e-government documents in our shared catalog. Law Library selections are also in the catalog.

University of Maine System

University of Maine System Libraries collaborate in providing access to licensed electronic resources. Shared resources are made available online to authorized users affiliated with all campuses through a web portal called MARINER: Maine Academic & Research Initiative for Electronic Resources.  Examples include but are not limited to indexes and abstracting databases for serial and monograph publications, full-text periodicals or databases, and reference materials. These resources can be found online at:

Maine Infonet

Maine InfoNet is a collaborative of academic, public, school, and special libraries that provides leadership in resource sharing, promotes cost effective solutions for quality library information services, and supports the cultural, educational, and economic development of Maine. Services include statewide patron generated interlibrary loan and The Maine Shared Collections Strategy in which libraries will collaborate to make decisions about the storage, retention, and preservation of print materials (both books and journals) as well as look for ways to integrate digital editions into a state-wide catalog.

V. Collection Policies – Physical Format

General – Materials are collected chiefly in digital or print format. Print or microforms are currently used as mediums for archival retention. Our goal is to provide access in the most convenient and cost-effective format.  We prefer not to duplicate materials in multiple formats.

Serials – Digital format preferred, so long as:

  • The resource is available in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library
  • The resource is hosted by an established governmental entity whose ability to archive and preserve is reliable

Monographs – Print format preferred

Audio-Visual Materials

  • Acquired at the request of faculty or staff.


The library collects materials in microform very selectively for infrequently used materials, mainly as a duplicate format and to provide permanent access for materials such as records and briefs, legal newspapers, selected U.S. government and congressional documents, and international organization documents. Microforms do have advantages in space savings, preservation and, at times, cost.

CD-ROM – The Library does not purchase CD-ROMs or discs. CD-ROMs and discs that accompany printed material are retained with the books.

VI. Collection Policies  –  Type of Material

Legal Periodicals & Indices

  • Bar Journals – Archive on fiche from Hein’s Bar Journal Service to 2008.
  • All major Anglo-American legal periodicals in English in print or electronically.
  • Periodical Indices
    • Current Index to Legal Periodicals
    • HeinOnline.
    • Index to Legal Periodicals & Books online.
    • Actively select, compile and maintain access to freely available searchable databases for US, Canadian and Foreign Law.

General Periodicals

Sociological, political science, medical, and economic periodicals are cited with increasing frequency in American legal materials. In a cooperative relationship, rely upon UMS libraries to fill our needs, including access to online aggregators purchased by University of Maine System and/or USM library.  Actively select and maintain access to freely available, purchased and consortia titles in online catalog and E-journal portal with Serials Solutions.

Practice Materials

  • Collect all Maine legal practice materials.
  • Collect practice materials for other New England states if they support our clinical education programs or provide special insight into an area of the law not covered by the scholarly literature.

Reference Materials

Preferred format is digital unless print is required to maintain archival access or for ease of use.

  • Atlases
    • Acquire a current edition of one major world/international atlas at least once every ten years.
    • The University Libraries maintains an extensive map collection at the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine.
  • Dictionaries
    • Legal Dictionaries
      • Collect most English language legal dictionaries and thesauri, plus selected legal dictionaries from foreign jurisdictions.
      • Provide copies of the latest edition of Black’s Law Dictionary.
    • Language dictionaries – Collect English-foreign language dictionaries, with a preference for those emphasizing legal terminology.
    • General Dictionaries
      • Selectively collect general dictionaries.
      • University Libraries collects a large number of general and specialized dictionaries.
      • One copy of the Oxford English Dictionary is available in reference. It is also accessible online.
  • Directories
    • Collect law-related directories, including congressional, judicial, federal, and administrative directories.
    • Selectively collect non-law directories.
    • Purchase the state bar directory for Maine.
  • General
    • Selectively collect general reference materials.
    • Primarily rely on online and the University Libraries.
  • Legal
    • Extensively collect legal reference materials.
    • Obtain the most recent edition of any title in the Reference collection.

Secondary Legal Materials

Monographs & Treatises

Selectively collect major print treatises that support the curriculum, faculty interests, student journals, and needs of secondary patrons (practitioners, etc.).

  • Citators
    • Purchase print Maine legal citators.
    • Rely upon electronic access for other Citators including subscription to Shepard’s public access.
  • Conference Proceedings
    • Provide access to proceedings, recordings, or handouts of professional conferences when requested by faculty or librarians.
    • Collect published conference proceedings according to the levels assigned to subjects in our collection.
  • Legal Encyclopedias
    • Collect print American Jurisprudence 2d.
    • Restatements & Model Codes
    • Collect all restatements plus tentative drafts and other drafts.
    • Collect the Uniform Commercial Code plus drafts and commentaries.
    • Collects the Model Penal Code plus drafts and commentaries.

Student Instructional Support

  • Thomas Reuters Westlaw
  • Lexis Advance
  • Bloomberg Law
  • CALI
  • Hornbooks
  • Nutshells

VII. Collection Policies – Jurisdiction

United States
Other States
Foreign Law

United States
Collect most primary sources of U.S. federal law along with secondary legal material, including as follows:

  • One complete set each of Federal Supplement, Federal Reporter, Federal Cases.
  • Two complete sets of official U.S. Reports, and one current Preliminary Prints.
  • One complete set of Supreme Court Reporter U.S. Supreme Court Reports. L. Ed. (also electronically available via HeinOnline).
  • United States Code, all editions.
  • USCA, all editions
  • USCS. Current edition
  • U.S. Statutes at Large in hard copy. (Microfiche set collected to 1976).
  • U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News (also electronically available via HeinOnline).
  • U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements, Treaties in Force and the United Nations Treaty Series (also electronically available via HeinOnline)
  • Code of Federal Regulations, Maine Government Register

Maintain a comprehensive collection of Maine primary source materials and a research level collection of secondary sources including practitioners’ materials.

Other States
In support of the Legal Research & Writing curriculum, the Law Library purchases and keeps up to date the official state statutes, session laws, and court rules for the following states: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In addition, regional reporters and digests covering these states are also maintained. Currently those titles are:

  • Regional Reporters: West’s North Eastern Reporter, West’s Atlantic Reporter.
  • Digests: West’s Massachusetts Digest, Maine Key Number Digest

Superseded state statutes, session laws and Attorneys General opinions are retained via Microfiche supplied by Hein.

Canadian Materials
The Garbrecht Law Library has an extensive Canadian Collection housed on the third floor of the library. It contains case reporters and statutes for Canada and for all of the Canadian provinces. We also rely on CANLII for the most current updates to these publications. In addition, the collection includes the Canadian Abridgment (updated through 2008), numerous reporters including, Reports of Family Law, Tax Cases and Labour Arbitration Cases. In addition, the collection includes a wide variety of treatises specific to Canadian law, including torts, contracts, constitutional law, criminal Law, family law, tax, and secured transactions.

Foreign Law
Historically, the Law Library collected foreign legal materials with the goal of creating strong collections in a limited number of specified jurisdictions. Current demand is broader and less predictable, requiring a flexible approach that allows us to provide users with materials from a greater number of jurisdictions.

  • The Law Library collects materials primarily in English. The Library also collect materials in other languages according to the research demands and language skills of the Law School Faculty and Library staff.
  • We collect the following categories of foreign legal materials:
    • multi-jurisdictional compilations of primary law in high-demand subjects, including intellectual property, environmental law, dispute resolution, trade, tax and
    • commercial law
    • periodicals in high-demand subjects and jurisdictions
    • treatises in high-demand subjects and jurisdictions
    • select reference works, including encyclopedias and dictionaries
    • other materials according to the research demands of users
    • Constitutions of the Countries of the World (Oceana Publications)
  • Documents of Other Intergovernmental Organizations – Selectively collect, in cooperation with University libraries, to ensure research-level coverage within the University.
  • European Union Documents – The Library is a depository for European Union materials, receiving and maintaining tangible publications from the European Union. In addition, the Law Library actively selects, compiles, and maintains access to freely available materials online. We purchase additional materials on EU law to supplement the depository program.
  • United Nations Documents – The Law Library selectively collects UN documents and subscribes to selected online resources to provide access to UN treaties and official documents.

Subscribe to

  • Foreign and international law resources database
  • Foreign Law Guide

VIII. Rare Books & Special Collections

Rare Books

Rare books are defined as books having value as an object, aside from or in addition to the intellectual value of the text. The law library considers non-American law books prior to 1800 and American law books prior to 1850 to be rare books. The Library houses approximately 1,200 rare books, primarily early English, American, Maine and Massachusetts legal treatises, dating back to the 17th century.

Rare books are purchased selectively according to subject interest and cost. The Library is currently not collecting.

Special Collections

The library maintains two special collections: the legal papers of Judge Edward T. Gignoux, and the legal papers of Judge Frank M. Coffin.

The legal papers of Judge Edward T. Gignoux

Personal legal papers on the Chicago Seven contempt trial and other well-known cases heard by a Maine jurist often cited as one of the nation’s most gifted federal judges are available to legal scholars, students and historians. Edward T. Gignoux was a U.S. district judge who presided over numerous high-profile cases and was twice considered for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gignoux, a Maine native, presided at the Indian Lands Claim case and at the bribery-conspiracy trial of U.S. District Judge Alcee Hastings in Miami. He gained national attention in 1973 when U.S. Chief Justice Warren Burger appointed him to hear the contempt trial of Abby Hoffman, Tom Hayden and the other 1960s activists known as the Chicago Seven, who were charged with conspiracy to disrupt at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

The Gignoux family gave the judge’s papers to the School of Law in the early 1990s. The School of Law raised in excess of $50,000 to renovate the room and support the collections.

The Legal Papers of Frank M. Coffin

Maine native and federal jurist Frank M. Coffin was truly a “Man for all Seasons.” Born in Lewiston in 1919, he served in all branches of the federal government: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. He earned degrees from Bates College, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Law School. He served in WWII, and worked for the Portland law firm Verrill Dana LLP.  He championed legal services for the poor and access to justice. His most lasting legacy may be the Frank M. Coffin Fellows Project administered by the American Bar Foundation. The fellows serve 2 year-terms to represent low-income parties in family law cases.

In the early 1950s, working alongside Edmund S. Muskie, he helped re-invigorate the Maine Democratic party, served as its chairman, and helped Edmund S. Muskie become Governor. He served as a U.S. representative in Congress from Maine’s 2nd district, and worked for international foreign aid agencies funded by the U.S. government. In 1965 he was named to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and served on the bench for 40 years, 11 as chief judge of the court (1972-1983). During this time, he was also Chairman of the U.S Judicial Conference Committee on the Judicial Branch for 1984-1990. All these materials are included in the archives.

Judge Coffin wrote about 2,600 published and unpublished opinions which form the bulk of this collection. He also wrote 4 books: Witness for AID (Houghton Mifflin 1964); The Ways of a Judge: Views From the Federal Appellate Bench (Houghton Mifflin 1980); A Lexicon of Oral Advocacy (National Institute of Trial Advocacy 1985); On Appeal: Courts Lawyering and Judging  (W.W. Norton 1994). All proofs, galleys, outlines and notes are included in the collection. Physically, the collection includes 882 (8.5 x 14) legal boxes; the contents include all his opinions, committee working papers, reports, speeches, awards, drawings, photos and musings, and a paper index. Judge Coffin personally donated his legal papers to the Maine School of Law on January 14, 2003, and was very instrumental in their organization and presentation as a complete legal testimony to his tenure as a jurist.

Faculty Publications

The Faculty Publications Collection is intended to be a comprehensive collection of publications of the past and present faculty of the University of Maine School of Law, written while they were members of the School of Law faculty. These publications consist of published information resources and their supplements in any medium, which were authored or edited by the faculty member, or which contain articles, essays, or letters by the faculty member; and audiovisual recordings of special presentations by the faculty member, such as continuing legal education programs, public lectures, and conference presentations. As a general matter, the School of Law faculty should donate a copy of their works to the Law Library for inclusion in the Faculty Publications Collection, and the Law Library may ask the faculty to do so.

Maine Superior Court decisions

Maine Superior Court decisions is a database composed of full text documents of decisions received from the clerks of various courts dating from January 2000 through present and digitized by the Law Library. It is searchable by Plaintiff, Defendant, Judge and County and publicly available via the Law Library’s website.

IX. Deselection

The library is committed to building a current and retrospective scholarly legal research collection in print and electronic formats. The collection development process involves decisions not only about what to acquire, but also what to retain, withdraw or move from active areas of the collection to storage. The print collection is continually reviewed to decide what can be withdrawn or relocated to reflect changes in institutional goals or programs, availability in electronic formats, usage, space limitations, increasing cost, duplication, obsolescence, and the condition of materials.

When deselecting, the librarians will consider:

  • The collection’s specific content
  • Whether or not present material is a significant source of primary information, and;
  • Whether or not it has historical significance in general, or, specifically, for the University of Maine Law School;
  • American Bar Association standards

Responsibility for weeding is placed on the Collection Development Committee and the deselection process is reviewed in bi-weekly committee meetings.

X. Categories of Materials Generally Excluded from the Collection

In order to meet our collection goals, within available monetary and spatial limitations, certain categories of materials shall not be purchased in the regular course of acquisition. These materials are as follows:

  • Books required for courses. The library does not automatically purchase every book required for every course. Most of the information in casebooks and other course books is already in the library in its original form, and these books are replaced frequently.
  • Casebooks – The library generally will not purchase student casebooks. The library may, on a very selective basis, purchase a casebook which contains “other material” such as original commentary of the compiler, reprint of something needed and not easily available elsewhere, or a reprint of collected statutory material more convenient to use than in the library format. Only one copy of the most current edition is retained.
  • Study aids:  Do not collect study aids such as the Black Letter Series, Course Outlines, or Case Notes. If study aids are received as gifts, they are added to the collection.
  • Materials written for use by laypersons or paralegals
  • Reprints of materials already in the collection, unless the original is in poor physical condition and needs to be replaced, or a reprint has been specifically requested
  • Materials with a local emphasis outside New England
  • Rare books, except by gift or special request

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