About the U.S. Courts Library - 8th Circuit
Our Locations
(Headquarters Library)





Our Mission
The primary mission of the U.S. Courts Library for the 8th Circuit is to serve the information needs of all federal judges, chambers staff, and other court personnel located in the seven states of the Circuit. This mission is carried out by our headquarters library in St. Louis together with eight branch libraries located in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fargo, Kansas City, Little Rock, Minneapolis, Omaha and St. Paul.
In addition to serving the federal courts, the library provides limited service to other federal agencies, state and local courts, law firms, and the public.

See the following article about our library system: One and Many: The Challenges of Managing a Multi-site Library by Ann Fessenden, Circuit Librarian (pdf).

See also: Federal Court Libraries in Transition (pdf) and The Evolving Library (The Third Branch)

Our History
The library for the 8th Circuit began as a one-person operation in 1896. In 1948 Congress authorized all circuits to hire librarians. In 1971 the 8th Circuit hired its first professionally-trained librarian. The staff was expanded a few years later to include a clerical assistant and a library assistant. Over the years the growth of the library paralleled that of the Judiciary. As the caseload and number of judges increased, so did the body of law, the number of legal research resources, and consequently the library staff. We now have one headquarters library in St. Louis and nine branch libraries located throughout the Circuit. For a more detailed history of the library, click here.
Our Collection
As a whole the library maintains just over 300,000 volumes. We also have additional holdings that are maintained on microfiche. The library's collection has been developed to meet the information needs of our court clientele. The focus of the collection is on primary and secondary federal legal materials. The library also holds primary materials and some secondary materials for the states of the 8th Circuit. The collection is rounded out by various non-legal materials that we believe can be useful to court personnel, members of the bar, and the public.
For more information on photocopies, library computer use, or any other issues, please contact the library nearest you.