Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Rare Books at Ohio Supreme Court Law Library

If you take the elevator to the 14th floor at the Supreme Court of Ohio and creep past the law librarian’s front desk, you will find a locked room that holds Ohio’s secret past.

While you won’t find the private diaries of past Chief Justices, you will find some very old books.

“We couldn’t replace these if we wanted to. They don’t print them anymore.” Erin Waltz, the library’s public services manager explained.

As the gold plate reads, “Rare Books”, the first thing you might recognize when you walk into the library isn’t the books. It’s the smell.

“It smells like old books and it’s true. It’s a little dusty. It’s a little musty. These books have been around for a very long time.”

The library’s oldest book is a 1565 collection of English laws translated into French.

“I have a minor in French and if you sat the book in front of me. I’d still look at it and say, I got nothing on that.”

What you will see is everything about old Ohio law, which pre-dates 1803, when Ohio became a state.

“So the original laws that govern this state exist right in this room and run right into the present.”

Of all the leather bound books sitting on the shelves, the most popular is a book with a title that jumps off the cover.

It reads “This book is not for inspection by anyone”, which for the curious minds, makes it nearly impossible not to open for consumption.

But don’t expect a thrilling page turner.

“It’s funny because it’s literally just a ledger of things we purchased, such as the California report Volume IV and what we paid for it. But it was top secret information and it’s a funny cover to have. “

From books printed by the command of Queen Victoria, to teeny weeny books that fit in your hand, the “Rare Books” room at the Ohio Supreme Court Law Library is a free time travel trip.