State Law Library

The State Law Library of Iowa has been called one of the most impressive and beautiful libraries in the world. The law library moved to its current location on the second floor of the State Capitol Building in 1886.

The "Victorian styled" grand hall of the library is adorned with an intricately decorated tile floor which is paralleled by its ornately painted ceiling and stained glass inserts. Towering 45 feet in height, the entire library is flanked with book-lined alcoves. Two lacy, wrought iron spiral staircases at opposite ends of the library connect the four tiers lined with shelves full of books; about 105,000 volumes in total.

The space continues to be a functioning library, providing Iowa lawmakers, government employees, the legal community, and the general public with a highly specialized legal collection of treatises, as well as state and federal statutory, regulatory, and case law. The collection also contains the abstracts and arguments of the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, legal periodicals, and materials produced by the Iowa legislature. Research assistance is available.

Read the Law Library policies.

Visit the Law Library

The Law Library is located on the second floor of the Capitol building between the House and Senate chambers. 

Address: 1007 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50319

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except state holidays.

Phone: 1-800-248-4483

Parking Information

Visitor Lot #15 is located to the east of the Capitol off of E. 12th St, north of the Lucas Building; as well as Lot #5 for visitors and state employees, south of the Capitol across Walnut St. and east of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Capitol Visitor Entrances

Visitor entrances are located on the west and south sides of the Capitol building on the ground floor. Visitors must go through a security scan to enter the building.

Services

Reference Desk: The Law Library offers a staffed reference desk with experienced librarians who can answer questions and provide reference services to visitors. 

Wi-Fi: The Law Library provides free, high-speed wireless internet for visitors. Connect to the network named State-Library-Public.

Wireless Printing: Visitors can print documents in the Law Library wirelessly by first registering for a free Papercut account. Ask a State Library staff member for instructions. Once your email is registered, email PDF documents to be printed as an attachment to this address: law.library.printer@iowa.gov

Special Collections

A.J. Small Room: The A. J. Small Room in the northeast corner of the Law Library houses a special collection dedicated to Arthur James Small, State Law Librarian from 1896 to 1937. It was during Small’s tenure when the English, Roman and International legal materials integral to the foundation of the United States’ legal system and governance were added to the Law Library’s collection. While acquiring, housing and providing access to legal information has been the mission of the State Law Library since its inception, it was Small who had the foresight to target these materials. Currently some of the seminal documents that would have aided Iowa’s pioneer lawmakers are stored in the A.J. Small Room. State Library staff offer tours by appointment.

Iowa Collection: Located directly across from the Law Library entrance doors and next to the windows overlooking downtown, the Iowa Collection contains non-fiction books about Iowa and Iowans. From vibrant cities to serene small towns and unique scenery, discover the history, heritage, people, pastimes, and nature of the Hawkeye state. Titles can be checked out from the reference desk with a State Library card, or browse the collection online in the State Library catalog.

Photography

Photography in the Law Library is allowed during open hours from within the accessible visitor space. 

High-resolution images of the Law Library are available for media and public use. As a courtesy, please credit the State Library of Iowa and notify Emily Bainter if using for media purposes to allow the opportunity to promote on the State Library's social media and other communication channels.

Law Library Images