The law library, in its various incarnations, is almost as old as the university itself. Beginning as a few shelves in the university library, it soon expanded to its own room, then its own department in the law school, and finally a building of its own. A collection of a few hundred books has blossomed into a collection of over a million volumes, making what is now the Tarlton Law Library one of the finest law libraries in the country.
The primary mission of the library has always been to meet the information needs of the students and faculty of the University of Texas School of Law. Indeed, the first library was no more than the personal collections of the first two faculty members – Oran Roberts and Robert Gould. The collection, preservation, and dissemination of legal information represents more than the simple acquisition of books and serials, just as a library is more than just a building with books in it. The professionals that dedicate themselves to making the library a smoothly functioning and comfortable place to research and learn are integral to the success of any library, and that is true of the Tarlton Law Library. Although many have contributed to the success of Tarlton, it is the long series of directors that have most influenced the growth and development of the library. Without leadership, a library can function, but it is vision that makes a library great. From the first students serving as law librarians to the remarkable careers of Helen Hargrave, Roy Mersky, and Barbara Bintliff, each has left a definite stamp on the character of the institution.