Illustrating the Law on Exhibit

The Georgia State University College of Law Library recently unveiled its new book display, Illustrating the Law. This collection showcases law library print materials that include illustrations. The exhibit is on display for the remainder of the month and is located on the fifth floor of the College of Law Building, just past the reference and circulation service desks on the short shelving that hosts the DVD and leisure collections.

May, John Walker. Inside the bar and other occasional poems. Hoyt, Fogg & Donham, The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800–1926.

The practice and study of law are incredibly writing-intensive. As such it comes as no surprise that the materials supporting these endeavors generally consist entirely of text, offering very little to break up its dense prose or offer even a cursory nod to the visual learner. Law is written. Our codes, cases, regulations, practice materials, formbooks, treatises, law review articles, legal encyclopedias, and casebooks rarely include an illustration, but there are some exceptions. This exhibit brings together those unique legal resources that opt not to rely entirely on verbose, sesquipedalian prose and instead include an illustration or two. These types of publications range from legal medical dictionaries detailing injuries for tort litigation to technology instructional guides for lawyers peppered with screenshots and flow charts to modern graphic novels tackling legal issues and instruction to somewhat more-refined coffee table books that celebrate a place, time, legal body, or actual library.

Take some time over the next month to explore this temporary collection. Consider how legal publishing uses (and does not use, for that matter) illustrations and graphics to better support the practice and study of law. Evaluate whether these examples add value to their respective areas of law and why so few resources include illustrations.

This exhibit is part of the law library’s revolving series of book displays promoting the breadth and value of its print collection. Not everything is online, after all. Past law library book exhibits include:

This display was inspired by Law’s Picture Books: The Yale Law Library Collection by Michael Widener and Mark S. Weiner.

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