The intersection between libraries and the law is quite prevalent. Once you start noticing them, the connections seem to appear everywhere (provided you aren’t limiting yourself to law libraries proper).
For example, last night I was watching Fake or Fortune?, a BBC One program that unravels mysteries surrounding works of art—in this case, a purported Rembrandt. Now what, you may ask, does this have to do with law or libraries? Plenty.
As the painting had been wrongfully appropriated by the Nazi regime in the early 1930s, a tangled web of legal issues (including spoliation, property law, and conflicts of law) shaped the case. Exemplifying the difficulty of repatriating Nazi-plundered art, three separate parties lay claim to the painting (which wasn’t a Rembrandt after all).
In these files are just so many answers. I mean, it’s a bit like crime scenes, you know; you have to library all the evidence, library the DNA, and then using it later on, you can establish things. Any picture that has been in a proper public collection, at auction…for the last 100 years, chances are you’ll find it here. Staggering, really.
Mould also mentions how much he loves the smell of the old files, all leather and mustiness (his surname, from a preservation standpoint, is too perfect)—a reaction that will resonate with any library lover.
You can watch full episodes of Fake or Fortune? online at TVO.org