Rare Book Room

Overview of the Rare Book Room Collection

The Rare Book Room in the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library (“RBR”) currently houses a variety of materials, the majority of which can be classified into three categories:

  • Rare Legal Monographs (non-North Carolina) 
  • Rare North Carolina Legal Monographs & Archival Material
  • UNC School of Law History

Within these three categories, we have both monographs and archival material/ephemera.

Rare Legal Monographs

The rare monographs in the RBR represent an overview of the development of the common law tradition, both in Great Britain and the United States. Most of the titles in the RBR monograph collection date to the hand press period (approximately 1501-1850) and thus also represent the development of the printed book over time. The collection also contains multiple British and American legal titles from the early industrial period (1851-1900). The RBR is also home to a smaller number of monographs from civil law traditions, including a few legal titles from 19th century Russia. 

We have an impressive sampling of monographs from the hand press period, and these form the core of our rare monographs collection. The British materials include monographs dating to the Tudor period, while the American legal titles date to the earliest years of independence. Included in this collection are items from a variety of legal subgenres, including statutory codes, case reporters, legal treatises, practice books, trial books (retellings of particularly interesting cases for a larger audience), justice of the peace manuals, and legal encyclopedias.

Rare North Carolina Legal Monographs & Archival Material

In addition to collections of older North Carolina statutory codifications, reporters, and session laws, the items in this category include both monographs and archival material. This monograph collection includes an impressive collection of North Carolina CLE materials and various committee and commission studies ordered by the North Carolina legislature. The archival collection also includes two areas of importance: (1) North Carolina Courts Commission records and (2) work product from the North Carolina General Statutes Commission.

UNC School of Law History

The UNC School of Law history materials in the RBR contain a variety of material types, including: photographs (prints and negatives), speech transcripts, faculty publications, event memorabilia, law journal publications, and Law Library records. This collection is unique to the Law Library, as no other institution outside of University Archives holds material that tells the history of UNC School of Law through documentary records.

Kathrine R. Everett Law Library’s Rare Book Room Policies

Research by Appointment Only

The Rare Book Room at the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library is open to the public for research purposes, but all users must register and schedule an appointment prior to obtaining access to materials from the Rare Book Room.

To register and schedule an appointment, please send an email request to lawref@unc.edu. In your email, please provide your name, phone number, and a description of the materials you would like to review. A law librarian will assist you in scheduling an appointment, retrieving the desired materials, and securing a work area for you to view those materials.

Your agreement to abide by the following policies helps use to ensure the long-term security and survival of the unique and valuable materials entrusted to our case by the citizens of North Carolina.

Rare Book Room Use Policies

  • Researchers may not under any circumstances remove non-circulating collection materials from the law library. Library staff will examine laptops, notes, and other items when researchers exit the research room.
  • Researchers must handle all library collections gently and carefully and keep loose documents in the order they are found. Researchers must abide by the specific guidelines, provided by library staff, on proper handling and safe positioning of loose documents and volumes.
  • No pens, bags, notebooks, or food and beverages (including water bottles) are permitted in the research room. Researchers wishing to bring loose notes into the research room should consult with law library staff. No more than 10 loose pages will be permitted.
  • Pencils, laptop computers, mobile devices on silent settings, and digital cameras with the flash turned off are allowed in the research room. Complimentary pencils and note paper are available in the research room.
  • Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a registered adult.

Additional Copyright, Public Records, and Data Collection Policies

You agree to abide the following use restrictions:

  • You are responsible for resolving copyright restrictions on your use of Rare Book Room materials.

Collection materials including unpublished documents may be subject to laws governing copyright (Title 17, U.S. Code). Permission of the copyright holder may be required for uses exceeding“fair use.” You acknowledge that they are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials you use.

You are responsible for resolving privacy restrictions on your use of Rare Book Room materials.

Some library materials that include twentieth and twenty-first century materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). You are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person). You hereby acknowledge that you are solely responsible for resolving any privacy restrictions on the materials you use.

  • The Rare Book Room collection includes public records.

The Kathrine R. Everett Law Library operates in accordance with the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.) providing access to university records not covered by state and federal right to privacy acts.

  • The University of North Carolina assumes no responsibility for your use.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and its libraries assume no responsibilities for your use of materials in the Rare Book Room. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and its officers, employees, and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions, and expenses arising out of use of collections held by the libraries.

  • Data Collection

The Law Library may retain information collected from researchers indefinitely. However, North Carolina law generally prohibits the Law Library from disclosing any library record that identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific materials, information, or services, or as otherwise having used the library, except when required by law or when necessary for the reasonable operation of the library (N.C.G.S. §125-19).