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Book Chapter

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The history of the Law Library dates from the establishment of the Law School in 1859· In June of that year, having in mind the Law Department that was to open the following October, the Regents appropriated $2,000 for the purchase of law books. That any books were actually bought before the department opened seems unlikely. It is more probable that the first Law Library was composed of a small collection of about 350 volumes donated by Judge Thomas M. Cooley, and duly accepted by the Regents in October, 1859. This first collection is said to have included ten volumes of Michigan Reports, the reports of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and those of some of the New England states. The original collection was housed in a room in the building that became the South Wing of University Hall. This same space was later occupied by the offices of Controller John C. Christensen and Vice-President Shirley Smith. The room was furnished with a rough deal table and a few wooden chairs and was heated by a box stove. Here the collection remained until 1863, when it was moved to the Law Building, which had just been completed. By 1931 the collection occupied all of the third floor and most of the second. In June of that year the Library was moved to the handsome new building donated by William W. Cook. The William W. Cook Legal Research Building, which forms a part ·of the Law Quadrangle, now houses the law collection and is probably the largest building in the world devoted exclusively to a law library. lt has accommodations for 500 reader s in the main study room; carrells in the stacks for graduate students; and approximately eighty studies for members of the fa culty, visiting lawyers and judges, and research workers.