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Don’t Throw Out that “Old” Oregon Law Book! (Motor Vehicle, Criminal Law, and Probate Law Revisions)


If that dusty law book in your office hasn’t been scanned yet (assuming copyright allows you or another repository to do so), PLEASE Don’t Throw it Out!

(If you want to know how to get rid of used law books, read our “How to Dispose of Used Law Books” guide.)

Some very popular Oregon reports that are used a lot in print, but have also been scanned (yay!), including these:

1973-4 Motor Vehicle Code Revision
1967-72 Criminal Law Revision Commission
1964-1968 Probate Law Revision Advisory Committee

Their scanned images are buried, ur, I mean can be found on an Oregon Secretary of State webpage titled “Oregon Legislative Assembly Committee Minutes and Tape Logs.” (Go figure. But, trust me, that’s where these valuable reports can be found.)

Law librarians, legislation drafters, and lawyers and clients live in the past, the present, and the future. We need current and historical legal resources. An Old  Book may still contain Good Law.

Think criminal, land use, toxic waste, education, and property laws (how old is the oldest private property in this country?), think torts (think lawsuits against clergy for wrongs committed 40+ years ago), etc., etc., etc.

It’s not unusual for a law librarian to get a request for a 1921 statute, or an 1887 statute, or a 1956 government report, a 1964 out-of-print book, or a corporate annual report from 1943. Cases from the 15th century (and earlier) are still cited in court opinions. (There is a reason that the U.S. Supreme Court has a thriving law library, with, at last count, 28 employees.)

Legislative history, Law revision, Superseded statutes and regulations, and Old Cases all matter a great deal to clients, lawyers, and judges – and law librarians, legal historians, and others.

Lots of documents are still not online, many are out of print, are behind expensive firewalls, and some exist in only a very small number of repositories – or in only one worldwide.

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