CHAPTER 51. COURTS AND THEIR OFFICERS.
ARTICLE 8. STATE AND COUNTY LAW LIBRARIES; LAW CLERKS.
§51-8-1. West Virginia law library; control and management.
The state law library now in the city of Charleston shall be
known as the "West Virginia law library," and shall be wholly under
the control and management and in the custody of the supreme court
§51-8-2. Librarian; bond; assistants; compensation.
The supreme court of appeals, or the judges thereof in
vacation, shall appoint a competent librarian to have immediate
custody of the West Virginia law library under the direction of the
court. Such librarian shall give bond in a penalty fixed by the
court of not less than two nor more than five thousand dollars,
with surety thereon, to be approved by the court, and conditioned
as provided for official bonds. Such bond shall be deposited for
safekeeping with the clerk of the court. The librarian shall be an
officer of the court and shall hold his office and be removable at
its pleasure. Vacancies in the office of librarian occurring
during vacation of the court may be filled by appointment in
writing made by the judges of the court, or any three of them.
When, in the opinion of the court, other employees are needed for
the proper protection and use of the library, it may employ such
assistants as may be necessary for that purpose. The salary of the
librarian and assistants shall be fixed by the court and shall be
payable in monthly installments.
§51-8-3. Rules and regulations governing use of library.
The library shall be open under such rules and regulations as
the court may prescribe from time to time, and it shall be the duty
of the court to adopt such rules and regulations and to cause them
to be published, as other rules of the court are published.
§51-8-4. Control of library by court; expenses.
The supreme court of appeals shall have the power and it shall
be its duty, to purchase such new and additional books for the
library as in its opinion shall be right and proper, and shall
cause such exchanges or sales of books to be made as may be for the
benefit of the library, and, in general, the court shall cause to
be done and performed all things necessary and proper to keep the
books of such library in good condition, and for that purpose may
cause such catalogs to be made as may be necessary. All expenses
necessarily incurred under the order of the court for the purposes
of this article, including postage, freight and express charges,
shall be paid out of appropriations for that purpose, under the
order of the court.
§51-8-5. Distribution of West Virginia reports.
The state law librarian shall have charge of and make
distribution of the reports of the cases decided by the supreme
court of appeals, after the same are printed and bound, and are
approved by the reporter and the court. After any new volumes of
such reports have been delivered to the librarian, not including
reprints of former volumes, he shall distribute the volumes as
follows: Five volumes to the governor; one volume to the president
of the Senate; one volume to the speaker of the House of Delegates;
twenty-five volumes to the attorney general; two volumes to each
judge of the supreme court of appeals; one volume to each clerk to
the judges of the supreme court of appeals; one volume to the clerk
of the supreme court of appeals; one volume to the judge of each
judicial circuit for each county in such judicial circuit; one
volume to each of the judges of courts of limited jurisdiction; one
volume to each judge of the United States district courts in West
Virginia; one volume to each prosecuting attorney in this state;
three volumes to the public service commission; five volumes to the
state road commissioner; three volumes to the state tax
commissioner; five volumes to the library of Congress, Washington,
District of Columbia; one volume to the director of legislative
services; twenty volumes to the college of law of West Virginia
University; one volume to the law library at Charles Town; one
volume to the Ohio county law library at Wheeling; two volumes to
the department of archives and history; one volume each to the
auditor, commissioner of agriculture, state treasurer, secretary of
state and state superintendent of free schools; and one volume to the head of subordinate executive departments, boards, commissions
and agencies at the state capitol.
The state law librarian shall arrange, as far as possible, to
exchange one volume of the West Virginia reports for a volume of
the current reports of the court of last resort of each state, the
District of Columbia and the territorial possessions of the United
States. He may further arrange for the exchange of such volumes
with law schools for law reviews, law bulletins, reports and other
legal publications. All such law reviews, law bulletins, reports
and other legal publications so received shall become the property
of the state of West Virginia unless otherwise so designated, and
shall be placed by the librarian and safely kept in the law library
at the state capitol.
The supreme court of appeals, or a judge thereof in vacation
of the court, may order the librarian to distribute volumes of the
West Virginia reports to any university or college on written
request therefor; and may order him to distribute additional
volumes to any officer, judge, court, tribunal, prosecuting
attorney, institution, library, board, commission or agency now
entitled to one volume of such report, or any such agency hereafter
created, upon written request therefor made to the court. Such
volumes shall remain the property of the state of West Virginia and
volumes so received by them shall be turned over to their
successors in office.
The supreme court of appeals, or a judge thereof in vacation
of the court, on written request therefor and as such court or
judge deems best, may order the librarian to distribute reprints of old volumes of the reports as replacements when requested.
The librarian is charged with and it shall be his duty to
retain and keep safely five volumes of the reports in the state law
library, at Charleston.
All volumes of the reports distributed as herein provided
shall be sent by the librarian by mail, express, freight or
otherwise as he may deem best: Provided, That such reports so
distributed shall contain a receipt which, on return to the
librarian, shall be kept on file.
§51-8-6. Exchange of acts of the Legislature for acts of the
legislatures of other states; distribution.
The librarian shall arrange as far as possible with each of
the other states for the exchange of two copies of the acts of the
West Virginia Legislature for acts of the legislature of each
state, one of which copies received from each state shall be
deposited in the state law library at Charleston, one copy in the
library of the college of law of West Virginia University, and the
other copies if any, so received from any other state, to be
disposed of as the supreme court of appeals shall direct.
The division of purchases, department of finance and
administration, upon requisition of the librarian, shall, without
cost, furnish such librarian with sufficient copies of the acts to
make the exchanges provided for by this section.
§51-8-7. Accounts and reports of librarian.
The librarian shall keep full and complete account of all
money transactions in connection with such library and of the
receipt of all books therein, and shall perform such other duties
in connection therewith as may be ordered by the court. The
librarian shall make an annual report to the court within thirty
days after the close of each fiscal year, in which he shall state
the number of copies of reports and session acts received by him,
and what disposition he made thereof, and also what money came into
his hands, and from what sources, during the preceding fiscal year.
WVC 51 - 8 - 8
§51-8-8. Authority to establish county law libraries; under
control of circuit judge; rules.
The Supreme Court of Appeals may establish county law
libraries which once established, are wholly under the management
of the circuit judge, with the assistance of the circuit clerk.
The Supreme Court of Appeals may determine the appropriate number
of law libraries that will be in operation as well as the location
of the libraries and may expend funds for the purchase of books or
other expenses necessary for the operation of the county law
All county law libraries in operation shall be kept current
and the cost of the libraries, other than for provision of adequate
space, shall be borne by the state and paid from the judicial
branch appropriation. The county libraries shall be available for
use by the public subject to reasonable rules as may be adopted by
the circuit judge. County commissions shall provide adequate space
for the county libraries.
§51-8-9. Accounts and reports relating to county law libraries.
The administrative director of the supreme court of appeals,
with the cooperation and assistance of each circuit clerk, shall
keep full and complete account of all money transactions in
connection with the various county law libraries and of the receipt
of all books and other documents lodged in such libraries and shall
perform such other duties in connection therewith as may be ordered
by the supreme court of appeals. Such administrative director
shall make an annual report to the supreme court of appeals within
sixty days after the close of each fiscal year, in which he shall
state the number of copies of reports, acts of the Legislature and
all other books and documents received by each county law library
and the disposition made thereof. Such report shall also set forth
what money came into his hands during the preceding fiscal year.
§51-8-10. Law clerks.
Any circuit court heretofore authorized by special act of the
Legislature to appoint a law clerk or law assistant shall continue
to have such authority, and all of the provisions of any such
special act or any other special acts amendatory thereof shall
continue to apply, and any such law clerk or law assistant shall
receive the salary most recently authorized in any such special
act, until changed by such circuit court, with the approval of the
supreme court of appeals, by order entered of record, but such
salary shall be paid out of the state treasury.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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