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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Middle Temple Library

One of our last class visits was to the Middle Temple Library located in London. While on our visit we learned about the great connection between their library and the United States of America. One of the first things pointed out to us was an authorized 1st copy of the Declaration of Independence, which was signed by multiple members of Middle Temple.

One of the largest collections of United States legal books and documents is inside of the Middle Temple Library. Since it is a law library, most users prefer hard copies of books and resources rather than online versions, making printed materials more valued. Recent budget cuts have lead to a decrease in subscriptions to journals because of their cost. Many lawyers in the UK reference books about U.S. law to help them with cases and for research on topics such as international law. Many researchers also refer to United States laws because they were some of the first laws put in place on environmental and copyright topics.

Much of the collection has been acquired through private donations from judges, lawyers, and professors. The collection began when the library's founder, Robert Ashley donated 4,000 books from his private collection at the time of his death. His collection consisted of mainly science, medical, and exploration books. Today, the library is full of many different types of books, including law books from Ireland, Scotland, and the European Union.

Another interesting aspect of Middle Temple Library is that they store and keep old textbooks from English law since new laws are always based on old laws. This makes it necessary to store the old books for research. Middle Temple was the only law library we visited and it was different in some aspects from the other libraries we visited, but it also shared many commonalities with other libraries we visited. I found it very interesting to hear about the connection between the United States and Middle Temple.

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