In 1891 the California State Legislature passed an act providing the establishment of public law libraries in each county. The Fresno County Law Library Board of Trustees was formed pursuant to the Statute and on September 29, 1891 conducted their first meeting with J. P. Meux elected as the Board’s first president.
The first order of business was to acquire research material and hire a librarian. The personal library of W. D. Grady was purchased as the foundation of the library’s collection at a cost of $1207 for the 1135 books. A Mr. O. Scribner was hired to oversee the library and serve as secretary to the Board at a monthly salary of $10.
The library was housed in the county courthouse until the summer of 1925 when inadequate space within the courthouse required a move. The 15th and 16th floor loft of the newly constructed Pacific Southwest Building became the library’s new site and those visiting were required to trek a flight of stairs as the elevator did not reach the upper level. The library remained at that location until a move in 1966 to the current location on the sixth floor of the 1100 Van Ness courthouse.
The law library is still governed by a Board of Trustees and computers are now situated amongst the collection of nearly 50,000 paper volumes. Although the appearance of the law library may have changed over the years, the spirit of service and community voiced by the first Trustees continues and the library is truly a beacon for those seeking access to legal information.