Bay Area Public County Law Libraries

Every county in California has a law library that is open to the public and free to use. Borrowing privileges vary, but they are often limited to attorneys. Most county law libraries have computers and electronic legal research databases that members of the public can use at no cost. The links to each county listed below leads to a summary of the library's location, borrowing privileges, and legal research databases. For hours of operation and additional information not listed below, please click on the link to each library’s website.

 

 San Francisco   San Mateo
 Alameda  Santa Clara 
 Contra Costa  Santa Cruz
 Marin  Solano
 Napa  Sonoma

 

For California Public Law Libraries outside the Bay Area, visit http://www.publiclawlibrary.org/law-libraries/.

 

San Francisco 

San Francisco Law Library
1145 Market Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 554-1772
Website: http://www.sflawlibrary.org/
Catalog: http://sflawlib.ci.sf.ca.us/

Legal Databases and software available: Lexis Advance, Westlaw, Shepard’s Citations, HeinOnline, CEB OnLaw, Fastcase, Martin Dean’s Essential Forms, Dissomaster, Nolo Legal Information Reference Center. All databases are free and available to the public for in-library use. Library computers may be used for two hours per day. 

Borrowing Privileges: 

  • Licensed California attorneys in good standing and eligible to practice law, who either live in San Francisco or maintain an office in San Francisco.
  • Judges of courts located in San Francisco.
  • Members of municipal, state, and federal agencies located in San Francisco.

 

Alameda 

Bernard E. Witkin Law Library
125 Twelfth St.
Oakland, CA 94607
Information: (510) 208-4800
Reference: (510) 208-4832
Circulation: (510) 272-6491/(510) 208-4835 
Alameda South County Branch
224 West Winton Ave. Room 162
Hayward, CA 95444
Information: (510) 670-5230

 

Website: http://acgov.org/law/
Catalog: http://acll.bywatersolutions.com/

Legal Databases and software available: Consumer Law Manuals, HeinOnline, Lexis Advance, Law Library Microform Consortium, CEB OnLaw, Shepard’s Citations, VerdictSearch, Westlaw, Dissomaster, Nolo Legal Information Reference Center, CCH Federal and California Taxes. The Law Journal Directory lists law journals and law reviews and whether they are accessible via Westlaw, Lexis Advance, or HeinOnline. All databases are free and available to the public for in-library use.

Borrowing Privileges:

  • Licensed attorneys in good standing from any state or U.S. territory.
  • Judges of courts located in Alameda County, and judges or retired judges who live in Alameda County.
  • Federal, state, county, or city public officials who maintain an office in Alameda County.
  • Adult residents of Alameda County. Appropriate identification is required.
  • Licensed attorneys, judicial borrowers, and public official may designate agents to borrow on their behalf.
  • Library cards cost $5 for attorneys, and $1 for all other categories. 

  

 

Contra Costa 

   
Contra Costa County Public Law Library 
A.F. Bray Courts Building 
1020 Ward St. 1st Floor
Phone: (925) 646-2783
Contra Costa Richmond Branch 
Superior Court Building 
100 37th St. Room 237 
Richmond, CA 94805 
Phone: (510) 374-3019  
Contra Costa Pittsburg Branch 
Superior Court Building 
1000 Center Dr. Room 1045 
Pittsburg, CA 94565 
Phone: (925) 252-2800  

Website: http://www.cccpllib.org/
Catalog: http://catalog.cccpllib.org/

Legal Databases and software available: Lexis Advance, Westlaw, Judicial Council Forms,
HeinOnline. All databases are free and available to the public for in-library use.

Borrowing Privileges:

  • Materials do not circulate.
  • An exception may be made in some circumstances for a 24 hour loan. 

 

Marin 

 
Marin County Law Library 
20 North San Pedro Rd. # 2015
San Rafael, CA 94903 
Phone: (415) 499-6355 
Reference: (415) 499-6356  

Website: http://www.marincountylawlibrary.org/
Catalog: Not Online 
 

Legal Databases and software available: Westlaw

Borrowing Privileges:

  • Materials do not circulate, with the following exceptions:
    • Materials in the law student section circulate to law students.
    • MCLE programs circulate. 

 

Napa 

 
Napa County Law Library 
825 Brown St. 
Napa, CA 94559 
Phone: (707) 299-1201 
Website: http://www.napalawlibrary.com/ 
Catalog: http://www.napalawlibrary.com/Collection.html 
 

Legal Databases and software available: Sustain, Westlaw, Dissomaster, Support Tax. All databases are free and available to the public for in-library use.

Borrowing Privileges: Materials do not circulate.  

 

San Mateo 

 
San Mateo County Law Library 
710 Hamilton St. 
Redwood City, CA 94063 
Phone: (650) 363-4913 
Website: http://www.smclawlibrary.org/
Catalog: http://1402.sydneyplus.com/SanMateoCountyLaw/Portal/opac.aspx?lang=en-US

Legal Databases and software available: Westlaw, CEB OnLaw, HeinOnline, Lexis Advance, Martin Dean’s Essential Forms, Shepard’s Citations, Dissomaster, California VerdictSearch, CCH Tax Materials. All databases are free and available to the public for in-library use. Library computers may be used for 90 minutes per day.

Borrowing Privileges:

  • Licensed California attorneys in good standing.
  • Members of the Judiciary.
  • Law students registered with the State Bar of California.
  • Employees of the County of San Mateo.  

 

Santa Clara 

Santa Clara County Law Library 
360 North First St. 
San Jose, CA 95113 
Information: (408) 299-3567 
Reference: (408) 299-3568 
Website: http://sccll.org/ 
Catalog: http://www.sccll.org/research/collection.html
 

Legal Databases and software available: Lexis Advance, Shepard’s Citations, Westlaw, CEB OnLaw, HeinOnline, Dissomaster, Matthew Bender CD-ROM station, Nolo Legal Information Reference Center, EBSCO Legal Source. All databases are free and available to the public for in-library use.

Borrowing Privileges:

  • Adult residents of Santa Clara County may obtain a library card with a $50 cash deposit, which will be returned to the borrower after three months.
  • Attorneys who either live in or maintain an office in Santa Clara County may obtain a card, and those in good standing may add staff to their account.
  • All library cards cost $2, and the applicant must provide photo identification and proof of address.  

 

Santa Cruz 

 
Santa Cruz County Law Library 
Government Center Room 070 
701 Ocean St. 
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 
Phone: (831) 420-2205  
Website: http://www.lawlibrary.org/ 
Catalog: www.santacruzpl.org 
 

Legal Databases and software available: Lexis Advance, Westlaw, CEB OnLaw, PACER (fees apply to Pacer).

Borrowing Privileges:

  • Licensed California attorneys in good standing who either live in or maintain an office in Santa Cruz County, or who have a trial in Santa Cruz County.
  • Judges, commissioners, or referees of a Santa Cruz County court.
  • Residents of Santa Cruz County, or non-residents who are pro per litigants in Santa Cruz County.
  • Employees of the County of Santa Cruz.  

 

Solano 

 
Solano County Law Library 
Hall of Justice 
600 Union Ave. 
Fairfield, CA 94533 
Phone: (707) 421-6520 
Website: http://solanolibrary.com/law/
Catalog: http://www.solanolibrary.com/catalog/

Legal Databases and software available: Lexis Advance, Westlaw, HeinOnline, VerdictSearch Weekly, Dissomaster. All databases are free and available to the public for in-library use.

Borrowing Privileges: Licensed attorneys who are members of the Solano County Bar Association.  

 

Sonoma 

 
Sonoma County Public Law Library 
600 Administration Dr. Room 213-J 
Santa Rosa, CA 95403 
Phone: (707) 565-2668 
Website: http://www.sonomacountylawlibrary.org/ 
 

Legal Databases and software available: Westlaw, Shepard’s Citations, and fee-based Lexis Advance.

Borrowing Privileges:

  • Attorneys may obtain a library card for either one year ($120), or six months ($65).
  • Two authorized users can be added to the account.