- 6.1 Introduction
- 6.2 Policies
- 6.3 Reference and Research Assistance
- 6.4 Technology in the Law Library
The UW Law School Library is one of the major resource libraries on the UW–Madison campus. Its primary mission is to foster the research and learning of the Law School Community, and its collections, hours and services are geared to the unique needs of the Law School.
Comprehensive information about the library, including access to resources and services, library hours, maps, and study room reservations is available on the Law Library website. For information about libraries campus-wide, go to the UW-Madison campus library website.
The Law Library staff welcomes comments and suggestions. Submit a Suggestion for the Law Library here.
The Law Library is open over 100 hours each week. Hours are posted outside the main door of the library and the UW Law Library hours page. Handouts are also available at the Circulation Desk. Hours are increased during the weeks before final exams. Please check for revisions because library hours are subject to change.
UW Madison has a large network of libraries across campus. In addition to the Law Library, law students are invited to use the facilities and collections of any campus library (subject to the rules and policies of that library). In turn, other campus and public users may also use the Law Library. View the list of all UW Madison campus libraries.
In response to a request from the Student Bar Association to provide adequate study space for law students, access to the Law Library is limited prior to and during the exam period to law students, law faculty & staff, and individuals needing to do legal research or use library materials, including our federal documents collection. Learn more about the Library policies here.
Law students are given a green gargoyle sticker to put on their Wiscard to identify themselves (stickers can be obtained at the Circulation Desk). During limited access hours, monitors posted outside the library entrance will ask law students to show their Wiscard with gargoyle sticker. Your patience and cooperation with the monitors are appreciated.
Students are not permitted in the library when it is closed.
Students enrolled in the graduate LLM-LI, LLM, and SJD programs can reserve individual study carrels for ongoing research to the extent that carrels are available. Graduate law students can apply for a reserved carrel in the Law School's Graduate Programs office.
Carrel checks are conducted monthly by library staff. Library materials that are non-circulating or that are not checked out are removed from carrels. Reserved carrel occupants should ask for “flags” when checking out materials at the Circulation Desk. These flags indicate to the library staff that the materials are charged to the carrel occupant.
The Law Library has eight small rooms for group study. Most rooms have a white board and a podium. Some also have computers with large monitors. A television with a built-in DVD/VCR player is available at the Circulation Desk for use in any of the study rooms.
Study rooms can be reserved for two hour blocks on the Law Library website. Study rooms and computer equipment are checked out to students at the Circulation Desk. Learn more on the UW Law Library Study Room page.
Law Library users deserve a clean and quiet atmosphere in which to study. Therefore, food is not permitted anywhere in the library. Insects and rodents attracted by food pose a danger to the library collection. Students frequently complain that noisy food consumption serves as a distraction to study and research.
Beverages in covered containers are allowed, but not near library computers or other equipment.
Please respect those around you by keeping noise and other distractions to a minimum. This prohibits talking in a loud voice, audible technology use (mobile devices, computers, etc.), food consumption, and other activities that may interfere with others’ ability to study. Talking in normal tones is allowed in study rooms and in the Shared Study Space on the second floor.
If you notice any distractions or inappropriate behavior in the library, please inform library staff right away so that we may promptly address the situation. We recommend speaking with a staff member in person at the Reference or Circulation Desk or contacting us via Chat at the UW Law Library website.
The library maintains the Law School's lost and found service at the Circulation Desk. Please see a library staff member for assistance.
The Law Library offers a full range of services to support student research. Reference librarians are available to advise students about resources best suited to their research needs. Library staff also offer instruction on the use of legal databases and applications, as well as on the Bluebook legal citation system.
For quick research assistance or a more in-depth consultation, you may contact a librarian:
- In person at the Reference Desk on the fifth floor of the Law Library
- By phone at 608-262-3394
- By email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- By live chat from the Law Library website.
Reference librarians are generally available at the following times during the academic year:
- Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Hours may vary during vacations, holidays, intersession, and summer. See the updated schedule on the UW Law Library hours page.
With a collection of almost 640,000 volume equivalents and hundreds of databases, the UW Law Library ranks among the top academic law libraries nationally. The library provides access to a full range of state and federal law, international law, and the law of certain foreign jurisdictions. As a member of the campus library system, Law Library users may also draw upon the over six million resources of the UW-Madison campus libraries.
Research can be done in a variety of ways:
- Search the library catalog
- Use the UW-Madison campus libraries' Citation Search Tool: good for locating journal articles by article or journal title
- Access hundreds of databases available through the Law Library
For a list of items checked out on your Wiscard identification card, to renew items, to check the status of library requests, and to monitor due dates, use the My Accounts link in the library catalog.
Through our strong shared networks, law students may request research materials outside the scope of the Law Library’s collections via the UW-Madison library catalog.
You may have books from other UW-Madison campus libraries or from other UW System libraries sent to the Law Library for pick up. When looking at a book holding in the UW-Madison library catalog, use the "Place a Request" link on the right side of the screen. UW-Madison books are delivered within 1-3 business days. UW-System books are typically delivered in 3 - 5 days.
You may also request delivery of journal articles from UW-Madison campus libraries that are not available in an electronic format. This service is offered free of charge, but please note that campus libraries are not able to process a large number of requests from individual users. When looking at a journal title in the UW-Madison library catalog, use the "View or request an issue" link on the right. Articles will be emailed within 1-3 business days.
To obtain research material not owned by UW System libraries, use the "Document Delivery" link on the UW Law Library home page. Electronic copies of articles are delivered to your desktop in 1-5 business days. The turn-around time for borrowing books is 1-3 weeks.
If you have any questions regarding interlibrary loans and document delivery services, ask for help at the Reference or Circulation Desks or email email@example.com.
Circulating materials (books, videos, etc.) can be checked out at the Circulation Desk on the fifth floor. However, note that not all library materials circulate. A valid Wiscard is required to check out materials. Learn more about Circulation Policies here.
Library material is available for use by all library patrons. To make the collection accessible to all, please return materials on time and in the same condition as when you received them. Marking on or folding pages is considered damaging to library materials. Damaged or lost materials may be subject to fines. Learn more about lost and damaged materials here.
Some course reading materials may be available on course reserve in the Law Library. To determine what is on course reserves, see the Law Library course reserves page or ask at the Law Library’s Circulation Desk.
Print materials placed on course reserve can be checked out at the Law Library’s Circulation Desk. The students at the Circulation Desk can assist in locating print course reserve materials.
You must have a valid Wiscard to check out print course materials from the Law Library. Course materials have short loan periods to ensure that all students in the class have sufficient access. Please return materials on time.
The library maintains a collection of popular magazines and daily newspapers at the north end of the fifth floor Habush, Habush, and Rottier Reading Room near the windows.
A large collection of novels with law-related subjects is also available. Most of these are in the general collection on the second floor and have call numbers beginning with “PR” and “PS.”
The library maintains a collection of feature films with law-related themes available by request at the Circulation Desk. Individual film titles can be located through the library catalog. Learn more at the annotated guide to the Law Library’s feature film collection.
Suggestions for additions to the library’s collection are welcomed. Every effort is made to purchase recommended materials if the materials are within the scope of the library’s collection and meet the library’s acquisitions criteria. Submit a purchase recommendation here.
A selection of new books and general wellness titles is available for browsing near the reference desk on the fifth floor. Recent additions to the collection are announced in a monthly Selected Recent Acquisitions list, which is available on the library website and via email delivery.
The Law Library's computer labs offer opportunities to complete coursework and a place to receive training on computer-assisted legal research tools. The Cook & Franke Teaching Lab and Class of 1972 Shared Study Space are located on the second floor of the Law Library.
Students are encouraged to work in groups in the Shared Study Space and speak with normal voice levels. This space is meant to be used by groups that need to discuss their work. However, please respect others who are using the labs at the same time. Learn more about the library’s computer labs.
Public access computers are also available on each floor of the library. These computers are intended for legal research use. No log-in is required.
Free scanning is available from two standalone print scanners in the fifth floor Copy Center and one on the third floor. The photocopier can also be used for free scanning (see below). Two free microform scanners are also available in the Microforms room on the second floor. Please respect other users by limiting the amount of time that you use the scanners. See a reference librarian for assistance with scanners.
A photocopier is available in the Copy Center on the fifth floor of the Law Library. Photocopies are $.10 per page and are available for purchase with your Wiscard.
The Law School's Copy Shop also offers copying at $.06 per page. See Section 5.4 for more information.
Printers are available in the Copy Center and in the Shared Study Space on the second floor. Printers charge $.07 per page ($.14 for double-sided) and are available for purchase with your Wiscard. The Law School's Copy Shop also offers printing for $.06 per page.
To configure your laptop for printing, see the Law School's Technology Services for Students. Consult the handouts available in the Copy Center for specific instructions on how to connect with Law Library printers. See Section 5.3 for more information. Free Lexis printers are also available in the Shared Study Space on the second floor.
Laptops and mobile devices may be used anywhere in the library; however, noise should be kept to a minimum. See 6.2.6 Noise and Other Distractions. Wireless access is available throughout the Law Library. Charging cables for phones and tablets are available for check out from the Circulation Desk. A valid Wiscard is required to check out this equipment.
Email access is available in the computer labs on the second floor of the Law Library. Other public computers in the library are intended for research use. As a courtesy to other library users, please do not use those computers for email.
The Law Library offers law students access to numerous legal databases, including LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg BNA, CCH Intelliconnect, Hein Online, ProQuest, and many more. These databases are available at the Law Library website and many can also be accessed remotely with your UW-Madison username and password. With the exception of LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law, no passwords are required to access databases in the Law School.
All J.D. law students are given access to LexisNexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law either during orientation or later through the Legal Research and Writing program.
LLM-LI, LLM and SJD students are issued passwords to LexisNexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law through the Graduate Programs office.
All other transfer, visiting, and graduate students wishing to obtain a password or training for LexisNexis, Westlaw or Bloomberg Law should contact Emma Babler at firstname.lastname@example.org. For lost or forgotten LexisNexis, Westlaw or Bloomberg Law passwords, you may also contact Emma Babler.