The author, who is a French national, made a curious discovery not long ago. Apparently nothing has been published concerning French law libraries and law librarians. In fact, very little had been written on French libraries at all. The thought of filling this gap slowly developed, prompted by a desire to contribute to the field of international law librarianship (and also perhaps by a touch of nationalistic pride!).
This paper is the result of a survey of French libraries with substantial law collections, undertaken in the winter of 1978-79 in Paris and the province. Long conversations were pursued with French law librarians in their libraries and numerous visits were made to the national Service des Bibliothques (Board of Libraries) at the Ministere des Universites (Ministry of Universities).
An attempt was made to answer the following questions: how are libraries organized in France and how do law libraries fit into this structure; what are the different types of libraries; how are they staffed, in other words, what is it like to be a law librarian in France, what is the education required, the promotion possibilities, the social status of the librarian vis-a-vis faculty and the general public; what about the legal collection, how different is it from a typical U.S. law collection, how does one do legal research in France; and finally, how does this country tackle the future, in particular how have the plans for the automation of libraries been implemented, both for internal operations and online services?
Claire M. Germain, France: Libraries of Law and Librarians, 72 Law Libr. J. 235 (1979) available at