General policies and principles for the Library's collections are stated in the General Collection Development Policy.  

Purpose of the Collection

Originally developed to support the Law and Society program at UCSB, our Law and Public Policy collections support interdisciplinary research and teaching related to law, legislation, legal research and theory, public policy, public administration, and government across the disciplines.

Subject Parameters


Our collection supports the study of law and legal systems, and their relationships with social, political, and cultural institutions. Research and instruction include areas such as law and social institutions, legal decision making, legal ethics, jurisprudence, legal compliance, criminal justice system, police actions, mediation, dispute resolution, comparative legal systems, role of lawyers, courts and public policy, and gender and law. Popular titles about law are normally not purchased, with the exception of materials about copyright.


Research and coursework related to Law and Public Policy may be conducted in History, Global & International Studies, Political Science, Economics, Feminist Studies, Sociology, Black Studies, Communication, Environmental Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Asian American Studies, and the Writing Program.

Geographical Coverage

Emphasis is primarily on the United States. Some materials are acquired for comparative law.


Most materials acquired are in English. Materials in other languages are selected to support specific research in consultation with the specialist in that area and language.

Chronological Limits/Period Coverage

The emphasis of the collection is on 20th and 21st centuries. Some areas, such as ethics and jurisprudence, cover all time periods.

Publication Dates

Most material is current. Legal materials are, for the most part, only kept in the latest edition.

Types of Materials Collected

Materials are collected in all formats, with an emphasis on research monographs, academic journals, and online legal systems. North American university press titles are received on approval, and other materials are selected individually. Normally, textbooks are not purchased. Subscriptions to journals are entered and maintained in consultation with faculty. Given the interdisciplinary nature of research related to law and legal topics, there is considerable consultation with other social sciences specialists for acquisition of materials and information sources. The collection is also supported by a strong government information collection. The Library is a selective depository library for U.S. federal government information and a complete depository for California state government information, and may also acquire materials from international governmental organizations and local governments.


Both print and electronic materials are acquired for this collection. 

Related Collection Development Policies

Subject librarian: Shari Laster
Policy Last Updated: June 2015