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Law: QuickStart Guide

This guide is intended to serve as a starting point for finding legal information and is intended for public library users and librarians.

Law About

Massachusetts Attorney General's Resources During COVID-19  Rights for workers, multi-lingual resources on earned sick time, proect yourself from frauds and scams, health care and insurance, child care and other resources for families, resources for immigrant communities, students and student borrowers, protecting your civil rights, small businesses, domestic violence and sexual assault resources.

Click now for "Law About" from The Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries (TCLL), comprised of seventeen (17) law libraries operating under the Massachusetts Court System.  These law libraries serve the bench, the bar and the public.  Becoming familiar with their website will provide many resources on legal topics.  On their left side bar, click on Laws by Subject which takes you to topics under Law About...over 150 topics A-Z.

These libraries are public law libraries.  Their hours and locations are arranged by town.  Apply in person with identification for a library card which will be mailed to you after a waiting period.  Use their databases while you are there.  Remotely, you can Ask a Law Librarian and will receive a response during their hours of service.  Document delivery is also possible. Just fill out the online document request form.

Resources for Educators, and a great overview from the Law Library of Congress


Legal Topics

Consumers, please see side tab or click: Consumer Laws & Alerts topics.

From the eResources page, enter your library card for three basic reference books on Elections, Presidency, Supreme Court through Gale Virtual Reference Library - Topic Law

 State-by-State tab: click on the name of a state for laws and updates by topic for that state. 

Check Legal News, Feeds & Blogs

There is often recent news which affects laws at the local, state, federal and international levels.  Check the National Governors Association

Animals & Pets




Children & Families


Get help with your Citizenship Application. 

Civil Liberties & Privacy

Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438 (1928)

Conservation & Environmental Protection

Conservation Law Foundation: legal work in New England states.  Scroll down and find a map in the left from, then click on your state.


Shortly over a year after L. Frank Baum registered the copyright claim for his famous children's book of the same title, he filed another application for copyright “on all musical numbers and lyrics under the title given.” The claim was made in the names of L. Frank Baum as author and Paul Tietjens as composer. The envelope was designed by W. W. Denslow, who illustrated the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book. The colorful lettering of Baum's name and address are flanked by the Mother Goose and Father Goose characters made famous in his earlier children's books.

Although the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film is the best-known dramatization of the Wizard of Oz, it was not the first production. In June 1902, an extravagantly mounted stage version opened in Chicago to great critical acclaim. The 1903 New York production became one of the greatest successes in Broadway history at that time and continued as a road-show for another decade.


Cyber Safety

Are you safe online? Visit the online resource guide to find out. Brought to you by DHS Stop.Think.Connect.

The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign is a national public awareness campaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. We each have to do our part to keep the Internet safe. When we all take simple steps to be safer online, it makes using the Internet a more secure experience for everyone.

Disabilities: Physical and Mental under the ADA

PACER Center Logo: Champions for Children with Disabilities


DRONES/UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)


Elder Law: Estate Planning, Homestead Act, Probate an Estate, Wills, Trusts, Retirement, Medicare, Social Security, Elder Abuse

Your money AND your life!




Employment, Unemployment, Retirement, Labor Law and Cases


MyAir icon

Guns and Other Weapons

Food Safety

Gender Equality

Family & Medical Leave


Housing Help & Home Ownership

Whether you are a homeowner, tenant or property owner, this block will help direct you to need-to-know legal information.



New policies and other information.

Insurance Law


Explore the varied kinds of insurance that you can purchase and the rules that insurers must follow.  See HealthCare for more health related insurance.

Intellectual Freedom


  The Trial Court Law Libraries and MassLegalHelp along with the Attorney General's Office of the Commonwealth should help answer your landlord-tenant questions. 

Legal Aid and Help

Massachusetts legal aid programs put together to help you find practical information about your legal rights. Topics include: Children and Families; Consumer; Domestic Violence; Employment and Unemployment; Health and Mental Health; Housing; Immigration; School; Income and Benefits; CORI; and Disability.

Licensed Professionals & Companies

Marriage Law

Want a "prenup"? Look for "antenuptial agreements".  Ask for v. 16 in the Massachusetts Practice Series at the Ready Reference Desk for forms, such as:

  • Part III. Domestic Relations
    1. Introduction and Court Forms
    2. Antenuptial Agreements
    3. Cohabitation Agreements
    4. Separation Agreements
    5. Reconciliation Agreements

Massachusetts Practice Topics + Forms & Cases

topics are covered in the Massachusetts Practice
series which offers Table of Laws and Rules with relevant U.S. and Massachusetts statutes and procedural rules on areas of legal practice, plus Massachusetts state-specific legal forms, some on CD-ROM, and Table of Cases, federal, other states and Massachusetts, including recent cases (in the pocket part) in the back of the volume, before the index, for each area of law. Ask for these volumes at our Ready Reference Desk.  Use the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries' Document Delivery System Form in order to receive texts of cases, if available, from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Librarians.  Plan ahead, as their hours of service are daytime, Monday-Friday, approximately 8 AM - 4 PM. There are 17 libraries.  Check each location for exact hours.

Mental Health Care

Motor Vehicle Law

-When windshield wipers are on

-When low light or weather conditions prevent other vehicles or persons from being seen at 500 feet

-From ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise


Neighbor Law

Open Meeting Law

Image result for open meeting laws

Organ and Tissue Donation


Patent Lens

A free public resource for patent system navigation worldwide.

Pharmacy Law


Picture of Social Media Icons

National Conference of State Legislatures posts laws and bills, state-by-state.

Public Libraries

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Legal resources related to Massachusetts libraries and librarians.

Massachusetts Friends of Libraries Organization

Public Libraries

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Real Estate


Shopping Online

Unclaimed & Abandoned Property

Victims of Crime

... minimum of 10 lawsuits from the families of the Sandy Hook victims

Vital Records

Birth, marriage death, divorce and other records

Voting Laws, Ballot Questions, Voters Guides

Find laws related to voting.  See voting records of U.S. Senators and Representatives under the Federal Law tab's Legislation box.


STATE-BY-STATE VOTER REGISTRATION : Find My State or Local Election Office Website


Federal Election Commission

 Florence Harding becomes the first First Lady to vote.


I'm interested in finding voting records for members of Congress. Can THOMAS help?


There are several different ways of voting in the House and the Senate, one of which is the roll call vote, where the vote of each member is recorded. Not all bills, in fact, the minority of bills, receive a roll call vote.


The THOMAS home page has a link to roll call votes from 1990 in the House and 1989 in the Senate. Each link lists the roll call votes by sequential roll call number. This number is unrelated to the bill number. You can browse the list of roll call numbers, or you can go to Bill Status in Bill Summary & Status for the given bill and find the vote number (and often a direct link to the roll call vote).


THOMAS does not compile votes by members of Congress. However, the Government Resources page contains resources related to congressional votes.

If you want to know more, the Glossary from will give you quick answers.



Whistleblower Protection Programs

U.S. Government Topics

Books on Legal Topics & Research

Self help legal publishers offer titles on legal topics intended for the lay person. Updated editions are published as frequently as new legislation or case law warrants.  The books can be borrowed as hardcopy, or checked out online with a library card if the library subscribes to a database containing a publisher such as Nolo.  Enter a apply for a library card number from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries to search the full text of 100 legal self help books.  Most self-help law books are in 346.73, or nearby.

Newton Free Library Legal Series Handouts

The Newton Free Library Legal Seminar Series, begun in 1994, has covered a broad range of legal topics in over 70 programs.  Handouts for library research were prepared, with supplemental material presented by private attorneys and Assistant Attorneys General from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. View the complete twelve year series' handouts in our Newton Special Collections room at N 345 L52L V. 1 (1994-1999) & V. 2 (2000-2012).  Use the Legal Topics tab to check for updates in information.